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Performative policy studies: realizing "transition management"

Voß, Jan-Peter

FG Soziologie der Politik

The paper analyses the relations between policy studies and public policy. It traces how they are constitutively entangled. Conceptually, this builds on a notion of performativity that has been developed in science studies. The performativity of policy studies is explored in a case study of the innovation journey of “transition management” as a model for governing sociotechnical change. The paper shows how practices of knowledge production and policy-making take shape in interaction with the model and how a specialized research field coevolves with political alliances and policy programs. They interact in the process of realizing transition management, both by establishing the model as collective knowledge and by materially enacting it. In this interweaving with public policy, policy studies contribute to creating the reality that they describe. The conclusions discuss “realizing” as a mode of governance.