Dealing with long-term policy problems: Making sense of the interplay between meaning and power

27-01-2016 | Publication

This introductory paper shows how explicating the interaction between meaning and power helps us to explain the successes of some cases of long-term policy making, for instance in the domain of climate adaptation and water management in The Netherlands. Moreover, this paper indicates how the puzzling and powering framework also helps to understand better why there are many cases of very little progress in long-term policy making and little use of futures knowledge in a long-term policy process.

This paper is the editorial introduction to a special issue in Futures. The special issue aims to further our understanding of how the interplay between meaning-making and power organization shape processes of long term policy making. For doing so, the special issue borrows the concepts puzzling and powering from the classical policy sciences and questions whether this framework helps us to understand long-term policy making better.