Critical Perspectives on Think Tanks


Critical Perspectives on Think Tanks

Power, Politics and Knowledge

9781789909227 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Julien Landry, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada
Publication Date: 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78990 922 7 Extent: 256 pp
This innovative book explores think tanks from the perspective of critical policy studies, showcasing how knowledge, power and politics intersect with the ways in which think tanks intervene in public policy.

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Critical Acclaim
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This innovative book explores think tanks from the perspective of critical policy studies, showcasing how knowledge, power and politics intersect with the ways in which think tanks intervene in public policy.

Expert contributors offer multidisciplinary analyses of the history of policy advice and expertise and highlight recent examples of how think tanks navigate public debates, political arenas and the backstage of decision-making. They provide an overview of historical developments in the emergence and evolution of think tanks and consider how current think tanks produce policy narratives and exercise influence through the power of ideas. Focusing on institutional structures and social forces, chapters explain how national and transnational think tank landscapes are organized and how think tanks shape knowledge production infrastructure in different governance contexts. The book concludes that evaluating this infrastructure is crucial for ensuring that policy discourse serves collective interests and inclusive policy learning in diverse democratic polities.

This book’s evaluation of the impact of think tanks on expertise, democracy and social justice, while utilizing rigorous empirical research, will be useful for scholars and students of public policy, political theory and public administration and management. It will also be beneficial for think tankers and policy analysts.
Critical Acclaim
‘Think tanks are ubiquitous today. This volume is a stellar contribution by showing how these organizations have evolved and adjusted to the post factual world where experts and policy knowledge is constantly contested. Even so, many think tanks have been able to penetrate policy advisory structures in countries around the world. But the contributors go further to delve into their organizational strategies that go beyond seeking to inform policy to reveal the way in which they wield power in shaping policy discourses and paradigms.’
– Diane Stone, European University Institute, Italy and International Public Policy Association, France

‘Critical Perspectives on Think Tanks offers the most comprehensive analysis to date of the global reach of think tanks. Its incisive studies are a must-read, not only for scholars focused on this subject, but for anyone interested in the shifting interface between public policy and scientific reason.’
– Thomas Medvetz, University of California, San Diego, US
Contributors: D. Abelson, T. Alam, A. Catala, F. Claveau, J. Hauck, M. Kipping, G. Lamy, J. Landry, D. Plehwe, C. Resende, A. Ruser, A. Salas-Porras, A. Veillette, E. Zimmerman

1 An introduction to critical studies of think tanks 1
Julien Landry

2 How advocacy tanks wrote the latest chapter in the history
of political intellectuals 21
Guillaume Lamy
3 From private advice to public policy? The evolution of
consultancy think tanks 37
Matthias Kipping

4 Democracy, civil society and the strategies pursued by
think tanks in Mexico 58
Alejandra Salas-Porras
5 In the backstage of influence and ‘policy marketing.’
Collusive transactions and action-oriented knowledge at
Epode European Network 79
Thomas Alam
6 An uphill battle: think tanks, Donald Trump and the war of ideas 97
Donald E. Abelson

7 Interplays of economic and knowledge power. Neoliberal
think tank networks and the return and universalization of
entrepreneurship 117
Dieter Plehwe
8 Think tanks and the turnaround of the right in Brazil 137
Juliana Hauck and Ciro Resende
9 Think tanks as governance entrepreneurs: institutionalizing
human rights in ASEAN 157
Erin Zimmerman

10 Politics by the same means? Think tanks, polarization and
the road to post-truth in the United States and Canada 177
Julien Landry
11 Widening the gap: US think tanks and the manufactured
chasm between scientific expertise and common sense on
climate change 196
Alexander Ruser
12 Towards an epistemic evaluation of think tank ecosystems:
the case of epistemic justice 215
Andréanne Veillette, François Claveau and Amandine

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