Silke Gülker

Evaluation as Discursive Futures Research: A Contribution to Political Learning?


Buy article


Can scientific evaluation support a process of political learning? This question is addressed from a theoretical and a practical perspective. To foster political learning, the interpretations of the actors involved become the object of evaluation themselves. On the other hand, by sharing local and implicit knowledge, local experts participate in the evaluation process as learning actors and discourse is used as method of research. Focusing the reform of German Employment Services which is a complex and disputed project, we invested in the design and implementation of a novel discursive procedure in order to evaluate this reform. About 150 representatives of the public and private employment agencies, firms, employers’ associations and unions took part in an assessment exercise on the future of Em-ployment Services. Alternating anonymous online questionnaires and discussions on a face-to-face basis, we followed a distinctive approach of evaluation. The discursive procedure lasted about nine months and opened up new perspectives on a particularly contested question, namely that of how to divide up tasks between public and private agencies.

Evaluation, Futures Research, Employment Services, Political Learning