On the use of narratives for assessing development policy

S Hodgett, Severine Deneulin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


The paper discusses the extent to which narratives enrich human development policy assessment beyond statistical data. Our arguments are divided in three parts. First, after introducing the capability approach, we examine the theoretical rationale for assessing policy beyond statistics and the relevance of narratives in policy assessment. Second, we review one major exception in policy assessment, the European Union (EU) Community Infrastructure measure. The paper theorizes interpretive approaches and the use of narratives in policy assessment. It suggests that in order for the capability approach to make a significant contribution to policy research we should explore the absolute presuppositions underpinning policy-making, and recognize that there is no intelligible distinction between quantitative and qualitative research: both acquire meaning in terms of the social plot in which they are mobilized. Consequently, we argue that future understanding of human wellbeing must be conceptualized within a meta-theoretic framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


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