Use and misuse of evaluation in social policy

Deeming, Christopher (2017) Use and misuse of evaluation in social policy. In: Handbook of Social Policy Evaluation. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 161-182. ISBN 978 1 78536 323 8

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    Abstract

    A basic question within the social sciences, which is rarely addressed directly or well, is to ask whether the ends of social welfare can ever justify their means. This chapter sheds new light on this issue by examining the relationship between evidence and evaluation in social policy in both the Global North and Global South, as policy-makers seek to address social issues in the design and implementation of new social policies that actively govern conduct. Behavioural regulation is the order of the day. For scholars interested in the development of social policy and the idea of a society as a whole, it is timely to begin the re-evaluation of the very notion of active social policy and society beyond the behavioural policy paradigm. Here we are particularly concerned with the ends and means of the coercive, regulatory policy instruments seeking to control behaviour and the active ethical issues arising from their ‘use’ – and ‘misuse’.