Producing knowledge, producing credibility

British think-tank researchers and the construction of policy reports

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-178
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society
Volume31
Early online date3 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

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think tank
credibility
interstitial
profession
intellectual
symbolic capital
cultural capital
dance
journalism
integrity
symbol
politics
lack
interview

Keywords

  • Think tanks
  • knowledge production
  • policy research
  • credibility
  • Policy research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

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