On the Use of Narratives for Assessing Development Policy

Susan Hodgett, Severine Deneulin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The paper discusses the extent to which narratives enrich human development policy assessmentbeyond statistical data. Our arguments are divided in three parts. First, after introducing the capabilityapproach, we examine the theoretical rationale for assessing policy beyond statistics and therelevance of narratives in policy assessment. Second, we review one major exception in policyassessment, the European Union (EU) Community Infrastructure measure. The paper theorizesinterpretive approaches and the use of narratives in policy assessment. It suggests that in order forthe capability approach to make a signifi cant contribution to policy research we should explore theabsolute presuppositions underpinning policy-making, and recognize that there is no intelligibledistinction between quantitative and qualitative research: both acquire meaning in terms of thesocial plot in which they are mobilized. Consequently, we argue that future understanding ofhuman wellbeing must be conceptualized within a meta-theoretic framework.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-79
    JournalPublic Administration
    Volume87
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Alkire , S . 2008 . ‘ Operationalizing the Capability Approach ’ , in S. Alkire , F. Comin and M. Qizilbash ( eds ), The Capability
    Approach: Concepts, Measures and Application . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press .
    Bamberger , M . ( ed .). 2000 . Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Development Projects . Washington, DC : World
    Bank .
    Bevir , M . 2005 . New Labour: A Critique . London : Routledge .
    Bevir , M. and R.A.W. Rhodes . 2006 . Governance Stories . Abingdon : Routledge .
    Bevir , M. , R.A.W. Rhodes and P. Weller . 2003 . ‘ Traditions of Governance: Interpreting the Changing Role of the Public Sector ’ ,
    Public Administration , 81 , 1 , 1 – 17 .
    Bruner , J . 1966 . Towards a Theory of Instruction . Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Belknap Press .
    Carvalho , S. and H. White . 1997 . ‘ Combining the Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to Poverty Measurement and
    Analysis ’ , World Bank Technical Paper No. 366 .
    Clark , D . ( ed .). 2006 . The Elgar Companion to Development Studies . London : Edward Elgar .
    Clarke , M. and M. McGillivray . 2007 . ‘ Human Development Dimensions and Data Constraints ’ , Maitreyee , e-bulletin of the
    Human Development and Capability Association , issue 8 ( http://www.hd-ca.org ).
    Cole , A. and P. John . 1995 . ‘ Local Policy Networks in France and Britain: Policy Co-ordination in Fragmented Political
    Sub-systems ’ , West European Politics , 18 , 4 , 89 – 109 .
    Collingwood , R . 1924 . Speculum Mentis: The Map of Knowledge . Oxford : The Clarendon Press .
    Collingwood , R . 1939 . An Essay on Metaphysics . Oxford : The Clarendon Press .
    CENI (Community Evaluation Northern Ireland) . 1998 . Review of Progress of Phase One of the Self Evaluation Project . Belfast :
    CENI .
    CENI (Community Evaluation Northern Ireland) . 1999 . The Story Dialogue Method – A Summary . Briefi ng Note to Groups, Belfast .
    Dawes , R . 1999 . ‘ A Message from Psychologists to Economists: Mere Predictability Doesn ’ t Matter Like It Should ’ , Journal of
    Economic Behaviour and Organization , 39 , 29 – 40 .
    DHSS (Department of Health and Social Services) . 1996 . Monitoring and Evaluation of Community Development in Northern Ireland .
    Belfast : DHSS .
    DHSS (Department of Health and Social Services) . 1999 . The Story of Community Infrastructure in Northern Ireland . Belfast : DHSS .
    Dunn , J . 1968 . ‘ The Identity of the History of Ideas ’ , Journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy , 43 , 85 – 101 .
    Fischer , F . 1998 . ‘ Beyond Empiricism: Policy Inquiry in a Postpositivist Perspective ’ , Policy Studies Journal , 26 , 1,129 – 46 .
    Fischer , F . 2003 . Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices . Oxford : Oxford University Press .
    Fukuda-Parr , S. and S. Kumar ( eds ). 2003 . Readings in Human Development . Delhi : Oxford University Press .
    Gadamer , H.G . 1975 . Truth and Method , 2nd edn . London : Sheed and Ward .
    Geertz , C . 1973 . The Interpretation of Cultures . New York : Basic Books .
    Geertz , C . 1983 . Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology . New York : Basic Books .
    Hodgett , S . 1998 . Community Infrastructure: The Northern Ireland Voluntary Sector and European Regional Policy . Belfast : NICVA .
    Hodgett , S. and E. Meehan . 2003 . ‘ Multi-level Governance in the European Union: The Case of Northern Ireland ’ , in J. Magone
    ( ed .), Regional Institutions and Governance in the European Union . Westport, CT : Praeger .
    Hodgett , S . 2004 . ‘ Government and the Making of Community: Policy and Social Development in a Globalizing World ’ , PhD
    thesis submitted to the University of Sheffi eld, School of Education .
    Hooghe , L. and G. Marks . 2001 . Multi-level Governance and European Integration . Boston, MA : Rowman and Littlefi eld .
    Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) . 2008 . ‘ Operationalising the Capability Approach ’ , Maitreyee , e-bulletin
    of HDCA, issue 13, October ( http://www.hd-ca.org ).
    Inglis , F . 1981 . The Promise of Happiness . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press .
    Inglis , F . 1993 . Cultural Studies . Oxford : Basil Blackwell .
    Kanbur , R . ( ed .) 2003 . Qualitative and Quantitative Poverty Appraisal . Delhi : Permanent Black .
    Kanbur , R. and P. Shaffer 2005 . ‘ Epistemology, Normative Theory and Poverty Analysis: Implications for Q-Squared in Practice ’ ,
    Q-Squared Working Paper No. 2, October .
    Labonte , R. and J. Feather 1996 . Handbook on Using Stories in Health Promotion Practice . Health Canada: Prairie Region Health
    Promotion Research Centre : University of Saskatchewan .
    MacIntyre , A . 1981 . After Virtue . London : Duckworth .
    MacIntyre , A . 1998 . ‘ Plain Persons and Moral Philosophy: Rules, Virtues and Goods ’ , in K. Knight ( ed .), The MacIntyre Reader .
    Cambridge : Polity Press .
    Newman , T . 2003 . ‘ The Power of Stories over Statistics ’ , British Medical Journal , 327 , 7429 , 1424 – 7 , 20 December .
    NIVT (Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust) . 1997 . Report on the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust Belfast Community Support
    Programme . Belfast : NIVT , 1 April 1996 – 31 March 1997 .
    NIVT (Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust) . 1999 . Building Community Infrastructure: Lessons from the Community Development
    Demonstration Programmes . Belfast : NIVT .
    ASSESSING DEVELOPMENT POLICY BEYOND STATISTICS 79
    Public Administration Vol. 87, No. 1, 2009 (65–79)
    © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    Nussbaum , M . 1991 . ‘ The Literary Imagination in Public Life ’ , New Literary History , 22 , 877 – 910 .
    Nussbaum , M . 1995 . Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life . Boston, MA : Beacon Press .
    Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) . 2006 . ‘ Multi-dimensional Poverty: How to Choose Dimensions ’ .
    Workshop, Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford , 23 – 25 May, at http://www.ophi.org.uk .
    Peters , J . 2001 . ‘ The Only Proper Scale of Representation: The Politics of Statistics and Stories ’ , Political Communication , 18 ,
    433 – 49 .
    Peterson , J . 1994 . ‘ Understanding Decision Making in the European Union ’ , University of York, Department of Politics, Working
    Paper No. 4 .
    Phelps , T . 2006 . ‘ Narrative Capability: Telling Stories in the Search for Justice ’ , in S. Deneulin , M. Nebel and N. Sagovsky ( eds ),
    Transforming Unjust Structures: The Capability Approach . Dordrecht : Springer , pp . 105 – 20 .
    Ricoeur , P . 1981 . Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action and Interpretation , trans. and ed .
    J. Thompson . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press .
    Ricoeur , P . 2006 . ‘ Capabilities and Rights ’ , in S. Deneulin , M. Nebel and N. Sagovsky ( eds ), Transforming Unjust Structures: The
    Capability Approach . Dordrecht : Springer , pp . 17 – 26 .
    Rhodes , R.A.W . 1986 . The National World of Local Government . London : Allen and Unwin
    Robeyns , I . 2006 . ‘ Putting the Capability Approach into Practice ’ , Journal of Political Philosophy , 14 , 3 , 351 – 76 .
    Samoff , J . 1991 . ‘ The Façade of Precision in Education Data and Statistics: A Troubling Example from Tanzania ’ , Journal of
    Modern African Studies , 29 , 4 , 669 – 89 .
    Sen , A . 1985 . Commodities and Capabilities . Oxford : Elsevier Science .
    Sen , A. 1990 . ‘ Development as Capability Expansion ’ , in K. Griffi n and J. Knight (eds) , Human Development and the International
    Development Strategy for the 1990s . London : Macmillan , pp . 41 – 58 .
    Sen , A . 1992 . Inequality Re-examined . Oxford : The Clarendon Press .
    Sen , A . 1993 . ‘ Capability and Well-being ’ , in Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen ( eds ), The Quality of Life . Oxford : The
    Clarendon Press , pp . 30 – 53 .
    Sen , A . 1999 . Development as Freedom . Oxford : Oxford University Press .
    Sen , A . 2002 . ‘ Open and Closed Impartiality ’ , Journal of Philosophy , XCIX , 9 , 445 – 69 .
    Shaffer , P. and R. Kanbur ( eds ). 2007 . ‘ Experiences of Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in Poverty Analysis ’ ,
    World Development , 35 , 2 , special issue .
    Stone , D . 2002 . Policy Paradox and Political Reason . Glenview, IL .: Scott, Foresman and Company .
    Taylor , C . 1985 . ‘ Interpretation and the Science of Man ’ , in C. Taylor , Philosophy and the Human Sciences. Philosophical Papers 2 .
    Cambridge : Cambridge University Press .
    UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) . 2004 . Human Development Report . New York : UNDP .
    UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) . 2007 . Human Development Report . Basingstoke : Palgrave
    Wallace , H . 1983 . ‘ Negotiation, Confl ict and Compromise: The Elusive Pursuit of Common Policies ’ , in H. Wallace , W. Wallace
    and C. Webb ( eds ), Policy Making in the European Community . Chichester : John Wiley .
    White , H . 1973 . Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth Century Europe . Baltimore, MD : The Johns Hopkins University
    Press .

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'On the Use of Narratives for Assessing Development Policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this