“Researchers have to manage politics, otherwise politics will manage them”
19 Sep 2016
In which ways have public inquiry comissions in Sweden based their positions on research-based knowledge? To what extent have their conclusions been the basis for government bills and legislation? What knowledge is chosen or rejected?
These are some of the questions in a comprehensive Swedish pending study that was presented at the Nordic Alcohol and Drug Researchers’ Assembly (NADRA) in Helsinki August and September 2016.
At the assembly one of the three sub-studies of the project was introduced more thoroughly: the investigation of the knowledge production and knowledge dissemination within Swedish alcohol policy during the years 1911-2009.
– The aim is to study intersections and tension between the knowledge-base of policy and research within welfare politics, by the example of substance abuse policy, associate professor Johan Edman, from the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs at Stockholm University, explains.
Public inquiries are most important
The study examines the six main commissions of inquiry on alcohol policy. According to Edman, public inquiries are the most important knowledge base for policy decisions in Sweden.
Edman says that researchers should consider their role in relation to public inquiries with narrow political purposes in the same way that they like to keep the distance to other interest formations; supporting politically tendentious questions with research is a political act.
– It is not enough to do good research to play this game, you must also manage politics. Otherwise politics will manage you.
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