This was something I wrote on Whitehall Watch 4 years ago, but it says something useful, I hope, about my approach to applied social sciences.
This is a fairly common derogatory phrase in the UK – meaning whatever is being talked about is somehow irrelevant to real life and of no real consequence. ( I am not sure how current it is in other countries).
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I seem to recall your admiration for W J M Mackenzie. He may not have imagined my remembering let alone quoting this, but I recall him saying, “It seems to me that planning rescued the social sciences by giving them something to bite on – but what the social sciences did for planning …………” ?!!