Journal article

Producing knowledge, producing credibility: British think-tank researchers and the construction of policy reports

Journal
Policy Research Research institutes Think tanks Evidence-based decision making Evidence-based policy
Resources
Attachment Size
DOI: 10.1007/s10767-018-9280-3 507.33 KB
Description

Abstract:

Think-tanks and their researchers are located within an interstitial and ill-defined ‘space between fields’; a space both constituted and divided by the worlds of academia, politics, journalism and business. This liminal position can be problematic for a think-tank researcher’s intellectual credibility as they lack the recognised cultural and symbolic capital derived from being located within an established profession’s jurisdiction. The question arises, how do think-tanks gain intellectual credibility? Drawing on interviews with think-tank researchers, this paper explores how these interstitial intellectuals produce policy reports. In following this process, we find that credibility emerges from a complex web of relationships across established fields/professions. Think-tank researchers must engage in a complex ‘dance’ of positioning the symbols, capitals and interests of a number of professions. To maintain their integrity, researchers must try to keep in step with competing interests from different professions; at times aligning them, at other times blocking or obscuring them from one another.

Publication Details
Volume:
31
Issue:
2
Pagination:
161–178
Publication Year:
2018