What kind of policy analysis is required now that governments increasingly encounter the limits of governing? Exploring the new contexts of politics and policy making, this book presents an original analysis of the relationship between state and society, and new possibilities for collective learning and conflict resolution. The key insight of the book is that democratic governance calls for a new deliberatively-oriented policy analysis. Traditionally policy analysis has been state-centered, based on the assumption that central government is self-evidently the locus of governing. Drawing on detailed empirical examples, the book examines the influence of developments such as increasing ethnic and cultural diversity, the complexity of socio-technical systems, and the impact of transnational arrangements on national policy making. This contextual approach indicates the need to rethink the relationship between social theory, policy analysis, and politics. The book is essential reading for all those involved in the study of public policy.