Article: Making Knowledge for International Policy: WHO Europe and Mental Health Policy, 1970-2008

3.coverThe recent special issue (Vol. 26, Issue 3) of the Social History of Medicine contains an article by Steve Sturdy, Richard Freeman, and Jennifer Smith-Merry titled “Making Knowledge for International Policy: WHO Europe and Mental Health Policy, 1970-2008”.

The abstract reads:

It is widely agreed that the effectiveness of the World Health Organization (WHO) as a policy body derives chiefly from its reputation as a source of authoritative knowledge. However, little has been done to show just how WHO mobilises knowledge for policy purposes. Rather, commentators tend simply to assume that the WHO is a technocratic organisation, which uses technical expertise to define normative, universally-applicable standards on which to base policy. This paper tells a rather more complex story. Looking in detail at the efforts of the WHO European Regional Office, since the 1970s, to reform mental health policy across the region, it shows that the organisation’s main policy successes in this field were achieved, not by circulating standardised data or policies, but by creating opportunities to share holistic, experience-based and context-sensitive knowledge of instances of best practice. We go on to analyse our findings in light of ideas about ‘epistemic communities’, and show how an appreciation of the nature and constitution of epistemic communities can illuminate the different ways that knowledge may inform international policy.

  1. What “epistemic community” would Melville’s character Captain Ahab, that famous monomaniac and synecdoche for Amerikkka, belong to? See http://clarespark.com/2013/01/08/is-ahab-ahab-the-free-will-debate/.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: