From research policy to the governance of research? A theoretical framework and some empirical conclusions
Culture' and 'change' are not words typically yoked together in social science. Indeed, the whole point of explanatory recourse to culture is to account for permanencies. Nonetheless, subject to certain conceptual precautions, middle range cultural analysis can work in conjunction with mainstream political science to clarify processes of policy change. The paper illustrates this by focusing on the case of European research policies and practices. After presenting a conceptual framework designed to bring together cultural analysis and policy science, the paper elaborates, on the basis of the framework, a theoretical scheme for the analysis of research policy. It then reports on some empirical findings from recent research and assesses the extent to which they validate the conceptual and theoretical framework. Finally, the paper offers some conclusions about the scale and innovative nature of policy change in contemporary European polities.