9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations Wednesday 23 - Saturday 26 September 2015, Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Italy
Panel title: The Evidence-base for Security Policy: Addressing the production of knowledge in a contentious policy field
Chair/Discussant: Georgios Kolliarakis, University of Frankfurt, DE
Public security has increasingly become a “wicked” public policy field. Its conflictive potential has not merely to do with fair distribution of a public good, but moreover with the complex, uncertain, and often ambiguous evidence base which policy decisions are made upon. While scholars aim at analytical consistency and coherence, decision makers must create compatibilities and commitment in order to promote a policy. Specifically, security policy makers often ride populist waves, or succumb to market-friendly high-tech solutions, while “critical security” scholars have not been successful in producing compelling evidence to counterbalance policy bias. The latter, going beyond critique, entails developing appropriate methodologies in order to measure and rank threats, evaluate policy outcomes, and assess their societal impacts. Following the turn to “post-normal science”, evidence-informed policy should broaden the sources of knowledge by engaging more societal stakeholders, and explicitly consider 2nd-order, non-intended effects of interventions themselves. This panel addresses both (ex ante) assessment, and (ex post) evaluation questions the interface between security policy and security research: How should diagnoses about threats and rankings of risks be made? How should outcomes and impacts of the promoted security measures be measured? Does scientific evidence helps re-politicize or de-politicize public debate about security?
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