Policy Legitimacy, Science and Political Authority: Knowledge and action in liberal democracies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Policy Legitimacy, Science and Political Authority

Knowledge and action in liberal democracies, 1st Edition

Edited by Michael Heazle, John Kane


216 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367332761
pub: 2019-04-16
SAVE ~$11.59
Hardback: 9781138919075
pub: 2015-10-08
SAVE ~$32.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315688060
pub: 2015-10-05
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Voters expect their elected representatives to pursue good policy and presume this will be securely founded on the best available knowledge. Yet when representatives emphasize their reliance on expert knowledge, they seem to defer to people whose authority derives, not politically from the sovereign people, but from the presumed objective status of their disciplinary bases.

This book examines the tensions between political authority and expert authority in the formation of public policy in liberal democracies. It aims to illustrate and better understand the nature of these tensions rather than to argue specific ways of resolving them. The various chapters explore the complexity of interaction between the two forms of authority in different policy domains in order to identify both common elements and differences. The policy domains covered include: climate geoengineering discourses; environmental health; biotechnology; nuclear power; whaling; economic management; and the use of force.

This volume will appeal to researchers and to convenors of post-graduate courses in the fields of policy studies, foreign policy decision-making, political science, environmental studies, democratic system studies, and science policy studies.


"As the academic world lurches from its love affair with postmodernism to whatever comes next, the relationship between politics and science is going to be crucial. This book is a welcome contribution to the discussion with the huge and refreshing advantage that not everything is cast as a choice between technocracy and democracy." – Harry Collins FBA, Distinguished Research Professor, Cardiff University

"This book’s engaging case studies show how the role of experts in politics differs dramatically in different policy areas. Rather than merely debunking or defending expertise, the authors examine the subtle processes through which scientific and political authority shape each other and yet remain distinct. In a time of widespread concern over the politicization of science, Heazle and Kane offer sensible and much needed guidance." – Mark B. Brown, Professor, Department of Government, California State University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Good Public Policy — On the Interaction of Political and Expert Authority Michael Heazle, John Kane and Haig Patapan 2. The Undead Linear Model of Expertise Darrin Durant 3. Intelligence and the Use of Armed Force Paul R. Pillar 4. The Long Goodbye: Science and Policy Making in the International Whaling Commission Michael Heazle 5. On the Interdependency of Political Authority and Economic Expertise John Kane 6. Uneasy Expertise: Geoengineering, Social Science, and Democracy in the Anthropocene Clare Heyward and Steve Rayner 7. Democratic and Expert Authority in Public and Environmental Health Policy David Kriebel and Daniel Sarewitz 8. In Search of Certainty: How Political Authority and Scientific Authority Interact in Japan’s Nuclear Restart Process Paul J. Scalise 9.Drifting to New Worlds: On Politics and Science in Modern Biotechnology Haig Patapan 10. Conclusion: A Democratic Tension? Michael Heazle and John Kane

About the Editors

Michael Heazle is an Associate Professor with the Griffith Asia Institute and the Griffith University School of Government and International Relations, Australia. His teaching and research interests include International Relations, politics, and the treatment of uncertainty in foreign and domestic policy making.

John Kane is a Professor with the Centre of Governance and Public Policy and the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Australia, where he researches and teaches in the fields of political theory, political leadership and US foreign policy.

About the Series

The Earthscan Science in Society Series

The Earthscan Science in Society Series aims to publish new high quality research, teaching, practical and policy- related books on topics that address the complex and vitally important interface between science and society.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
NATURE / Ecology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Environmental Science