Genres of knowledge-building and policy-making
Graham Smart [+]
In this chapter I bring together, in Clifford Geertz’s terms, ‘experience-distant’ concepts outlined earlier in the book – disciplinary theories of discourse, genre, activity, distributed cognition, and situated learning (here supplemented by modelling theory) – and ‘experience-near’ concepts embedded in commentary from the Bank’s staff economists and senior executives to present a detailed account of knowledge-building and policy-making, a writing-intensive activity mediated by four cultural tools: the Quarterly Projection Model, the Projection Exercise, the White Book, and the monetary-policy story. In this account, we will see how the output from economic monitoring and analysis by junior economists is used by more senior economists to develop a broad, forwardlooking view of the Canadian economy and a set of policy recommendations for the Governor and his colleagues on the Governing Council, who in turn draw on this view of the economy and these recommendations in making decisions about the direction of the country’s monetary policy. A central aim in the chapter will be to examine closely the relationship between written and spoken discourse on the one hand and knowledge-building on the other (Barron, Bruce, & Nunan, 2002; van Dijk, 2003). At the same time, the chapter carefully traces out the ways in which written and spoken discourse genres are enmeshed with the technology of computer-assisted economic modelling. Topics include: Mathematical models in disciplinary knowledge-building; The Quarterly Projection Model; The Projection Exercise; Issues Meeting; Starting Point Meeting; Projection Rounds Meetings; Chiefs’ Meeting; Presentation Meeting; Management Committee meeting; The White Book; End-of-quarter input to policy-making; Benchmark for current analysis; Reference point for sequence of meetings; Friday Presentation and Tuesday meeting; Governing Council meetings; Inter-projection monitoring exercise and meeting; Management Committee meeting; The monetary-policy story; Constructing the monetary-policy story; Variations on genre conventions; Methodological reflections: research questions, data collection, and data analysis; Probing key terms; Examining life-cycle narratives; Identifying converging perspectives; Applying disciplinary theory.