LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for SOCNET Archives


SOCNET Archives

SOCNET Archives


SOCNET@LISTS.UFL.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

SOCNET Home

SOCNET Home

SOCNET  December 2006

SOCNET December 2006

Subject:

Re: Programme theory

From:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 31 Dec 2006 11:15:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (147 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

William Fear writes...

Abstract

This paper argues that the formulation of policy, at whatever level, to
whatever scale or scope, is any different to the myriad of processes
involved in strategic planning within and between organisations, and the
attendant decision making processes that abound in such an environment (e.g
see, Hage, 1980; Hickson, 1987; Thompson, 1967; Weick, 1976).  Those forces
that impact upon organisations are precisely the same forces that impact
upon policy making groups who are themselves 'organisations' (or
institutions), whether actual or representative.  This provides a startign
point for considering a synthesis between various models or paradigms.  The
argument continues, that program theory and the program logic model can
incorporate and synthesise theories from elsewhere that, in turn, usefully
inform and develop programme theory and program logic.  A 'hierarchical'
model is presented to explore the linkages between the components and
'simple' processes of theory, programme theo!
 ry, logic modelling, organisational functioning, policy, and the consequent
impact.   It is hoped that this model can be used as a framework to: a)
determine which components are essential to give the policy external
validity, credibility, implementability, and so on; and b) provide a common
point of reference for policy makers, stakeholders, and evaluators.


Ryan Lanham writes...

I have not read your paper; please send it along and congratulations on its
refinement.  

If the abstract is good, and it looks like you have been careful, I'll bite
and offer some (perhaps outrageous) comments generally relevant to it though
perhaps much more so to some of the predicaments of research on
policy-related matters (and strategy) from my twisted perspective...

I use a casual tone some will view as irreverent.  Some may avoid unwanted
anger and offense by reading no further because I take a critical view of
conventional scholarly approaches that I lampoon as common in the academy.
I hope this is a straw man and that I am a fool.  The latter I can be almost
sure of.  Further, offense is intended only to ideas--but of course we are
often made up of our ideas--so that is drivel.  Mine is meant as discussion
with acquaintances--and the boundaries of propriety are negotiated between
writer and reader.  

_________________  

It is a curious human need in scholarship to generalize...to synthesize.
Most 4S-type folks attribute this to a sort of collective chip on the
shoulder of the social sciences at not being able to say anything with the
identity formation power of the physical sciences.  Those physical types
were there first, and they perfected hegemony in an age when it was even
more impolite to question authority.  For the record, I don't much buy into
that collective idea either--it's time to move beyond conspiracy theories
and accept ourselves for what we are--fractured, uncertain and hopeful.  

Yet we continue to try to reach "common points."  There are none I
suspect--thank goodness.  At least no one has proved one to me with anything
like proof that exists in the physical sciences or mathematics.  Those
proofs are trivial.  That is why so much of the interesting work in the
physical sciences was done in the wee early stages of broadly noticed
thinking.  Maxwell and Darwin did some pretty compelling work.  Maxwell
would likely have been Einstein had he had a decent physician.      

If evolutionary biology (and virtually every other policy relevant
"science") has taught any general lesson in the last few years, it is that
there are few if any general lessons related to more complex ecosystems and
that platforms for common discussion are actually hegemonic (dare I utter
that ugly postmodern word...colonial?) attempts to dominate discussions--it
is a predatory instinct played out in the jungles of academia where alpha
predators edit journals and become "big names" and the sheep read them.
Good work if you can get paid to do it.

There is no "democratizing" that sort of knowledge (whatever that might mean
but it would seem to be relevant to a policy scholar)...because it is all
about "trust."  Trust too often (if I risk a generalization) means power and
exclusion--or said another way, social networks.  In short, Wikipedia is a
sort of evil socialism of knowledge that undercuts all that is bright and
beautiful and government funded.  To be human is to network--to exclude--not
to link, and information technology is a threat not an opening to a broader
and more open and critical dialogue.  

Borders protect our "way of life."  Editors "clean up" discussions.  And
ways of living and cleanliness are what it's all about--it is your turn to
be president of the society, Chumley, I'm going back to Berkeley to write my
monograph--press run 439 copies for "the field."  In the end, we are about
protecting our buddies.  We celebrate this band of brothers and esteem its
vertices.  We rarely ask what the general process is about.  And yet
knowledge is so intriguing--so hopeful.  

I too would like to utter something that is useful to a lot of people.  I am
increasingly doubtful that can be done.  We don't know enough about cultures
and the ethics of saying THIS is right to make any useful utterances beyond
helping out in small groups--tiny enclaves and local venues.  Policy for
common points is a 19th century sort of morass.  It leads to clashes of
civilizations.  Open the borders.  Ignore the borders.  Just drive from
Belgium to Germany.  What do you win if you take over?  You can only have
hegemony if you can get suckers to pay attention.  

People like Raul Lejano are starting to take over policy studies from the
haughty old folk who hang out at elite institutions and periodically jet
down to nation-state capitals to expound their wisdom as a capstone to a
"brilliant career".  Some call this patriotism.  I'm sure it is.  I wonder
if it is scholarship.  

Even at those elite institutions, to me more interesting voices are now
emerging like Saskia Sassen who see generalizations, borders and
boundaries,and even "nations" as category errors and prejudices designed
mostly to hurt...not help...in any ethical or political sense worthy of a
new century.  

One answer to this morass, if you see it as one, is to disclose ahead your
biases toward epistemology.  Do you believe in generalizations?  Why?  What
are your hopes for your work?  Do you believe science is a discussion or is
it a list of correct statements?

If science is a discussion, who is allowed to participate and who gets to
arrange the seats and lock the doors?  Who is allowed to participate in
policy discussions?  Who is allowed to say what organizations exist and why?
Without some basis in answering these questions, how can one presume to
offer "generalized" knowledge?  Is publishing what it was originally...that
is to make things public--or is to confuse, engage in cronyism, and to build
cabals where we can snipe at other "disciplines" whatever those might be.

The usual retreats are that one's work is "empirical."   Just the facts,
ma'am.  Curious that.  It is as if each person can watch a movie and see the
same thing.  One would think we would tire of making movies because we all
see the same things...over and over again.  Or that we would simply read the
book of generalizations about plots and be done with it.  Boy meets girl.
'Nuff said.  Knowing what one trusted reviewer said is enough isn't it?  We
can trust reviewers.  They never work for the production houses, do they?

The burden has fallen on the generalists to prove they are not simply
sitting by on their power dishing out hegemony like so many dukes and earls
or dukes of earl.  I trust you aren't doing that in creating
generalizations.  Or, maybe that is the best we can hope for from "policy."
Or perhaps...maybe we should start to have the passion and curiosity--not to
mention the ethics--to wonder aloud why we think we know something that
deserves to be "generalized"--and who we are professing that knowledge too
and why.       

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008, Week 62
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager