Making sense of 'evidence' - notes on the discursive politics of research and pro-poor policy making

Andries du Toit Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, 2012; Working Paper 21 Download publication

What are the assumptions underlying ‘evidence based’ approaches to poverty reduction? 

This paper argues that the discourse of evidence-based policy (EBP) relies too heavily on a technocratic, linear understanding of the policy making process. This limited understanding ignores important discursive frameworks and paradigms that help make evidence meaningful in terms of its potential impact.

The author uses examples from South Africa to illustrate how evidence is used in politically loaded and ideologically compelling ‘policy narratives’.

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