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The governance of social science and everyday epistemology

The governance of social science and everyday epistemology

Donovan, Claire ORCID: 0000-0002-6105-7794 (2005) The governance of social science and everyday epistemology. Public Administration, 83 (3). pp. 597-615. ISSN 0033-3298 (Print), 1467-9299 (Online) (doi:

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Research on the governance of publicly funded research does not recognize that social science and ‘science’ are distinct activities. Neither does it recognize that regulating research policy in purely science and technology terms has undesirable consequences for the social sciences – intended or otherwise. This paper seeks to correct these omissions and considers the governance of social science through the example of regulating ‘everyday epistemology’ at the science policy level. The British research council system is used in order to demonstrate how social science has been politically constructed as a legitimate enterprise for public funding. We find that social science is in fact regulated by non‐social scientists. The result is that social science, seen as a square peg, is forced into the round hole of natural scientific thinking. When this policy is translated into governance structures it creates a ‘slave social science’ and subverts the role of social science as social science.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economic and Social Research Council; Epistemology; Governance; Social Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2020 22:17

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