Radaelli, Claudio M. (1999) “The Public Policy of the European Union: Whither Politics of Expertise?”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
The role of expertise in European public policy has become the object of a passionate debate. On the one hand, European Union (EU) policy studies argue that knowledge, in various guises, can foster learning, enlightenment, problem-solving attitudes, and policy change. On the other, EU public policy is in the firing line because of its technocratic bias. However, what is meant by technocracy in the case of the EU? How can political scientists be fascinated by the positive input of knowledge, and, at the same time, horrified by technocratic policy-making? The aim in this article is to tackle this puzzle by suggesting an appropriate conceptual framework. Concepts such as technocracy, epistemic communities, and bureaucratic politics refer to different modes of the politics of expertise. Empirically, they should be contrasted with the logic of politicisation. Case studies discussed in this article suggest that the power of expertise is being counterbalanced by a process of politicisation. The conclusion is that the main challenge is neither to preserve an unattainable de-politicised Union nor to assume that politicisation will tame technocracy, but to make expertise more accountable in an increasingly politicised environment.
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