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Keywords:

  • Governance;
  • institutions;
  • public policy;
  • development planning;
  • South Africa;
  • local government;
  • governance theory

This article is concerned with the relationship between generalised and particularistic knowledge in the context of policy-making and policy analysis. It argues that it is problematic to assume that a reform model will generate similar outcomes across a wide variety of contexts. It presents a conceptual framework, including the concepts of transaction domain and domain consensus, that enables context-sensitive analyses. The argument is exemplified by South Africa's introduction in the 1990s of an Integrated Development Planning model, based on British reform experience and various international public-management models. With a case study of such planning in Lukhanji Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province, it illustrates how the conceptual framework may be used in policy research and analysis.