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Beyond Rationality: Antifoundationalism, and the Logic of Identity in Policy-Making

Bullard, Ashley Robert (2018) Beyond Rationality: Antifoundationalism, and the Logic of Identity in Policy-Making. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Within drug policy and social policy scholarship, rationality is privileged as the ideal that should underpin policy-making. However, there is a discrepancy between this rational-centred model and what occurs in practice. Despite tacit acceptance of the epistemological impossibility, many in the drug policy field have postulated on how to achieve ‘rational’ drug policies. This thesis engages with this problem, but seeks to avoid the privileging of rationality as previous accounts have done. It draws upon scholarship from critical social policy and a decolonial discourse theoretical approach to make an argument regarding the centrality of identity in policy-making. This concerns the identities of both subjects and objects in policy-making activities. The theoretical argument is tested through an analysis of cognition enhancers within the UK policy agenda. A genealogical account is presented, drawing upon data from extensive BNIM-inspired interviews with key policy actors, and documentary analysis. This thesis traces how the changing understandings and relationships over the period of cognition enhancers on the UK policy agenda produced policy logics, and limited the range of recommendations deemed possible. It argues that the identities of policy makers, the imagined citizenship, and the objects governed; all interact in the productive logic of policy. This thesis expands upon the centrality of identity in policy-making from the field of critical social policy, and presents a unique account of the limitations of rationality in drug policy; addressing the assemblage of the relational, discursive, affective, social, and cultural dynamics of policy enactment, which occur in sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious ways. At its core, Beyond Rationality argues for a different form of engagement with the policy-making process; one that deals with the politics of identity, rather than competes over the rational truth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Redacted version available immediately. Full version will become available after embargo expires.
Keywords: Social Policy, Discourse, Critical Social Policy, Rationality, Identity, Antifoundationalism, Cognition Enhancers
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778648
Depositing User: MR Ashley Robert Bullard
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 08:54
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24188

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