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Enlivening evidence-based policy through embodiment and emotions

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  • Irene Hardill
  • Sarah Mills

Abstract

Evidence-based policy and practice tends to operate on a belief that knowledge is obtained through objective observation and reasoning, leading to 'rational decision-making'. But the work of producing such knowledge is typically more 'messy', more iterative and more non-linear; features of the knowledge production process only made more pronounced by imperatives such as co-production. Just over a decade ago Smith and Anderson traced out a position countervailing to that of the predominant - yet, at that stage, only tentative - 'policy (re)turn' in human geography and set about charting a new course of research, variously promoting and encouraging a more enthusiastic laying bare of the researcher's positionalities and emotional sensitivities. In this paper we wish to briefly reassess the 'emotional turn', via a case study centring on the New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) research programme to highlight the challenges of translating emotions into a policy making environment. In our project we examined the ways in which the materialities of ICT (and new technology more broadly) are embedded in everyday life. How people feel, their emotional sensitivities, towards the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) we argue is crucial for understanding the potential impact of the current public policy thrust to move to the online delivery of public services (or egovernment). Adding emotional sensitivities in the body of knowledge when in dialogue with policy makers we suggest enriches evidence based policy that centres on behaviour change.

Suggested Citation

  • Irene Hardill & Sarah Mills, 2013. "Enlivening evidence-based policy through embodiment and emotions," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 321-332, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocxx:v:8:y:2013:i:3:p:321-332
    DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2013.770909
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jon Bannister & Anthony O'Sullivan, 2013. "Knowledge mobilisation and the civic academy: the nature of evidence, the roles of narrative and the potential of contribution analysis," Contemporary Social Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 249-262, November.
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