The political function of expert knowledge: Knowledge and legitimation in European Union immigration policy.

Most literature on knowledge utilization is premised on rationalist theories of organizations: bureaucracies draw on knowledge instrumentally, either to expand their power or to adjust policy output. This paper develops an alternative account of the functions of knowledge, arguing that organizations are just as likely to value knowledge as a source of legitimation, or as a way of substantiating their policy preferences. The prevalence of these different forms of knowledge utilization will depend on (a) features of the organization (its perceived stability and source of legitimation); and (b) features of the policy area (degree of contention and mode of settlement). The article applies this framework to explore the European Commission’s use of knowledge in immigration policy, especially through the European Migration Network.

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