Policy as a rhetorical effect

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Knowledge plays the role of both giving the novelty a citable, remarkable and observable shape and of identifying the public action as something which changes the world.

Policy is a way of giving meaning to the world which also contains an idea of the problems to be solved and identifying the actors who solve the problems. In the political field therefore “novelty” and “visibility” of change are basic elements of action (Nassehi, n.d., 1). Policy, which makes no change but only sustains the actual state of the regulation, can not even be called policy. Policy has to introduce changes, policy stands for novelty: that means policy can only be recognised as policy when it can create visible and experienceable changes in the social world. In this sense Cibele & al. (2010) identify the fashionable modes of “post-bureaucratic regulation” not only as a result from an “instrumental” need, but also from the search for a rhetorical effect that will enable the illusion of action to be maintained“ (Cibele & al., 2010, 16). Knowledge plays the role of both "giving the novelty a citable, remarkable and observable shape and of identifying the public action as something which changes the world” (Nassehi, n.d., 1).


  • CIBELE C., BARROSO J., CARVALHO M. (2010), Knowledge and public action. Sex education in school. KNOWandPOL report.
  • NASSEHI Armin (n.d.), Making Knowledge Observable: Short Considerations about the Practice of „Doing Knowledge“. Manuscript.

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