29 Critical Soc. Pol'y 5 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/critsplcy29 and id is 1 raw text is: 




01  DAVID PRIOR
    University of Birmingham



    The  'problem'   of anti-social   behaviour   and  the  policy
    knowledge base: Analysing the power/knowledge
    relationship



    Abstract
    The high priority given to tackling anti-social behaviour in current
    government policy might generate an expectation that knowledge of the
    nature and extent of the problem would provide an empirical underpin-
    ning for policy. However, a detailed examination of the state of official
    'knowledge' of the problem of anti-social behaviour shows that there are
    substantial gaps and ambiguities in what is known, and disjunctures
    between some of the claims made by government about its approach and
    what the official evidence seems to say. The article explores the reasons
    for the government's lack of empirical engagement with the 'problem'
    of anti-social behaviour in the context of the relationship between power
    and knowledge in current policy.

    Key words:   crime, discourse, empiricism, evidence, localism



Introduction

One  consequence   of the modernization  agenda  pursued  by  recent
governments   has been the considerable expansion  of, and increased
importance given to, sources of knowledge in the policy process. Two of
the principal drivers of this growth have been the development of sys-
tems of performance management,   audit and accountability requiring
vast amounts  of statistical data (Clarke and Newman, 1997), and the
commitment to 'evidence-based   policy' requiring the demonstration
by social research of the quantifiable effects of public policies (Davies
et al., 2000).
    Policy is of course shaped by many different forms of knowledge,
ranging from  statistical descriptions of population characteristics, to
political, professional or popular discourses embodying claims to truth

@ Critical Social Policy Ltd 2009 0261-0183 98 Vol. 29(1): 5-23; 098392
SAGE PUBLICATIONS, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC
10.1177/0261018308098392


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