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Call for Papers: IPA Conference, 3-5 July 2013, Vienna / Austria


8th International Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (IPA) 2013
Societies in Conflict: Experts, Publics and Democracy

Dates: Wednesday July 3rd - Friday July 5th , 2013
Location: University of Vienna, Austria
Conference website:
Please submit abstracts through the website (max. 500 words)
Deadline for paper proposals: February 28th, 2013

Conference Theme
Affairs such as Stuttgart 21, the 'Occupy movement's' response to the financial crisis, ecological problems, or diverse controversies around novel technologies, are timely examples of conflicts between groups of publics and the political establishment. Such movements put into question the status of legitimate knowledge and the articulation of legitimate representation. They question, at the same time, routine operations of traditional democratic institutions, and reintroduce the question of how to define "the political" and "politics" in general.
The 8th continuation of the IPA conference gives therefore a special focus to the intersection of policy analysis with Science and Technology Studies (STS) by highlighting the relation between publics and experts around one of the fundamental keywords of politics: "conflict". We conceive conflicts as constellations of knowledge and power, in which diverse actors are gathered around values, meanings and practices. The complexity of current policy issues and the institutional ambiguity create a demand for new forms of dealing with conflicts. They also invite us to study formats, in which the meaning of expertise and citizen participation can be renegotiated in performative manners. Rearticulating policy settings along the relation between experts and publics is one of the main challenges of current research on democracy, governance and policy practices.
Actors increasingly establish their positions through argumentations or performances, while the increased need for public acknowledgment recasts the issue of citizen's participation or the framing of "experts". These ideas are not entirely new: interpretive policy analysts have investigated mechanisms through which knowledge becomes the central device of power, creates institutions and governs them and/or legitimizes agendas of policy actors. In a similar vein, STS scholars have shown that scientific knowledge can legitimize political agendas or block them. Towards that end, they have investigated, how "experts" get their status and how they shape and are shaped by "publics". By debating and analyzing the shape of diverse "publics", they have also launched the question of whose knowledge counts as legitimate in specific time and place.
In the last decades, questions like these have regained the interest in both policy analysis and STS. How do we think about the study of conflicts through interpretive lenses? What aspects do we consider both as analysts and practitioners, when facing conflicts and controversies in environmental, urban, planning or health care policies? In how far do the current policy debates force us to rethink, what we mean by "political" and "politics"? What is the role or function of policy analysis and analysts in times of multiple crises? These are some of the pending issues that will be addressed at the IPA conference 2013 in Vienna.


Pre-Conference Course on Interpretive Methods
We will organize a pre-conference, following its successful history. This day-long course is intended to introduce participants - from doctoral students to more experienced researchers - to the broad field of interpretive policy analysis. More information will be provided soon on our website.
Keynote Speakers:
Deborah Stone, John Law
Round Tables:
1. Politics of Resources
2. Migration Studies
3. IPA and STS in Asia
4. Interpretivism & Critical Realism (?)
Author meets critics
1. Hugh T. Miller; Governing Narratives. Symbolic Politics and Policy Change 2. Delf Rothe, Chris Methmann and Benjamin Stephan; (De)Constructing the Greenhouse: Interpretive Approaches to Global Climate Governance
Practice Seminars: "Science interacts with Politics"
Practice workshops will be organized to bring scholars into dialogue with policy makers, practitioners, and professionals. Building on the successful format of the series of practice seminars that were developed in former IPA conferences in Cardiff and Tilburg, practice seminars explore how to bring researchers and practitioners together around shared problems.
Methodology Workshops
These 90-minute workshop sessions feature specialists in different aspects of interpretive policy analysis. Organized as "master-classes" two experienced researchers will meet a small number of "newer" researchers to discuss issues in using a particular methodological strategy or method. For more information see the website and the list of panels, panel number 100.
For the list of the 66 panels, please refer to our conference homepage https://ipa2013.univie.ac.at
Open section: Proposals for papers, which do not fit into one of the panels can be submitted to this section; case studies from specific policy issue arenas that deal with "conflict"; clarification of interpretive approaches in use (e.g. varieties of discourse analyses or narrative analyses; the role of rhetoric and metaphor, the role of arguments, the role of emotions); methodological issues in doing critical/interpretive policy analysis and STS.
General information on IPA 2013
Interpretive research in the study of politics represents a leading challenge to positivism and scientism in the name of a methodological pluralism that is sensitive to meaning, historical and social context, and the importance of human subjectivity.
Important revisions of policy analysis in its linguistic, argumentative or practice turns have promoted recent research in the field. These concepts and streams have shown to which extent politics and policy practices are governed and shaped by discourse.
The Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna together with the Life-Science-Governance Research Platform (LSG), the Austrian Political Science Association (ÖGPW) Institute of Forest, Environmental, Natural Resource Policy at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), and the Graduate Center of the Faculty of Social Sciences/Universiy of Vienna (GZ SOWI) hosts the 8th International Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) conference under the title "Societies in Conflict: Experts, Publics and Democracy".
The IPA conference is an annual meeting of researchers and practitioners from around the world. Its 8th continuation gives a special focus to the intersection of policy analysis with Science and Technology Studies (STS) by highlighting the relation between publics and experts around one of the fundamental keywords of politics: "conflict". How do we think of the study of conflicts through interpretive lenses? What are current societal challenges of politics and how do these challenges shape the general understanding of democracy, expertise and power? What implications can we derive for policy analysis, when investigating conflicts and controversies in environmental, urban, or health care policies? How are these implications handled in the field of science and technology studies, and what can policy analysis learn from this scholarly work?
The IPA plenary sessions and panels are aimed at rethinking and debating the theory and practice of different methods of interpretation and critical explanation in policy analysis, in particular the relation of policy expertise to publics and democratic governance.