Evidence-based policymaking and the politics of neoliberal reason: a response to Newman

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6 Citations (Scopus)


In his recent article, Newman argues that the different perspectives within the literature on evidence-based policymaking, broadly distinguished between rationalists and constructivists, have failed to produce a productive scholarly debate. A solution to overcome this often vitriolic impasse is for scholars to be more accepting of the different goals of each approach. This response challenges Newman’s argument on the basis of three weaknesses: a failure to properly understand the incommensurability of different ontological and epistemological positions; a narrow conceptualization of ‘evidence’; and the absence of a historical context for his argument. While undoubtedly well intentioned, in practice, the article serves to blunt the critical tools necessary to constructivist approaches, perhaps at a time when they are needed most–when we are observing the growth in what is termed ‘post-truth politics’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017


  • constructivism
  • depoliticization
  • Evidence-based policymaking
  • instrumental rationality
  • neoliberalism
  • post-truth politics


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