Scripting deliberative policy-making: Dramaturgic policy analysis and engagement know-how

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public engagers are officials tasked with facilitating collaborative performances in the theatres of deliberation that increasingly populate local governance. In Scotland, they work to involve citizens, communities and organizations in deliberative policy-making. Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, this paper shows how these policy workers deploy their own field of specialist knowledge during the scripting of participatory processes. The analysis eschews
conventional notions of “scripted participation” as tokenistic or manipulative, thus seeking a more sophisticated understanding of the know-how that animates engagement practice. The findings reveal the micro-politics of official participation processes through the “behind-the-scenes” work of engagement practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-285
JournalJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2015


  • participation practitioners
  • deliberative policy-making
  • policy work
  • policy ethnography
  • engagement know-how


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