- Abstract - Keywords - Overview - Infography - Summary


Experimental science focused on the action of the Westphalian state, policy analysis consists of a hard core (positive policy analysis), surrounded by a protective crown (normative policy analysis). 
This intellectual framework was vertiginously deployed in the USA during the second half of the 20th century before being exposed to chaotic circulation and laborious reception in the Rest of the World (ROW), particularly in Africa.
With the ambition for "speaking truth to power" and then for "making sense together", policy analysis is subject to constant questioning under the combined effect of new requirements and the massive invasion of other disciplines that delimit their territory in order to become operational.
 The dominant paradigms are reaching their limits and exposing policy analysis to positivist drift under the effect of strategies of capture of the public regulator by interest groups with private agendas and the viral propagation of the figure of the policy entrepreneur embodied in pure, deviant and above all caricatural forms.
The emerging frontier of research places the discipline within a new dynamic (volitive policy analysis) that aims to integrate into public decision-making the long time, global space and transformative engagement to prepare for the advent of the scalable, assertive and defixator post-Westphalian federal state.


State, Paradigms, Epistemology, Ontology, Methodology, Positive, Normative, Volitive, USA, ROW, Capture, Africa, Post-Westphalian, Scalability, Assortativity, Defixator.


The science of policy analysis is an applied research discipline focused on state activity. The production of public policies has been nourished by the work of great thinkers, from Plato to Auguste Comte, Bacon, Saint Simon, Hegel. But while state action is the central focus of policy analysis, other disciplines have invested in specific or cross-cutting issues. Thus, beyond philosophy and political sociology, almost all sciences and technologies have taken possession of this object to mark its territory: geopolitics, biopolitics, political economy, political history, public management, political engineering, political ecology, political development, political innovation, political studies, political anthropology, political communication, political marketing, political methodology, political religion, forensics (non-exhaustive list).
The science of policy analysis was built as the Westphalian state (1648) in Europe spread throughout the world, especially after the great wave of decolonization. It has been tossed around over the centuries between national/dynastic and imperial/industrial causes, and only from the second half of the 20th century onwards did it experience this rapid expansion in the United States. The federal state institutionalized it in the mid-1970s in an administration in search of the capacity to formulate and implement good policies, unlike the Westphalian European philosophical tradition of power, which derives its legitimacy from the exercise of public power through the distribution of authority and control over the public service.
Meanwhile, the number of nation-states has quadrupled in the last century alone, all more committed to the principle of sovereignty than others - a belief that has become so sacred that any abandonment of a crumb is tantamount to treason (E. Lazlo). Nevertheless, the validity of this principle is constantly challenged by factors that affect the legitimacy of public intervention: strategic interdependence and shocks, integration and mobility, technological disruptions and extreme events.
Claiming to be an experimental science, the hard core of policy analysis first claimed to "tell the truth to the public authorities" based on a positivist epistemology and a neutral and scientific method. The normative approach was the protective crown, especially during years of crisis, disillusionment and delegitimization of the figure of the ubiquitous political entrepreneur.
What has emerged over time as a positivist drift, has given rise within or at the margin of the discipline to a multitude of currents and theories which, without undermining the hard core, have tried to "make sense together". Faced with this ambition, which requires integrating both long time and global space into public decisions, the positivist current shows its limits. This requirement triggers the volitive dynamics that now constitutes the frontier of policy analysis where different producers of meaning coexist, all relying on a prospective approach, sometimes normative and preventive, to combine it with the positivist hard core, sometimes exploratory and global, to prepare for the advent of the post-Westphalian state and draw up the Master Plan.



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