Sarah Brown & Elizabeth Koebele
Welcome to our virtual issue featuring scholarship on Asia published in Policy & Politics in the last two years. We have a strong body of work surfacing a range of policy issues in the region with wider relevance as well and look forward to receiving similar submissions in the future!
As part of our focus on Asia, Policy & Politics is proud to be an official partner of the Annual Conference of the Asian Association for Public Administration (APPA 2022) in Shanghai, China on 3-4 December 2022. If you are presenting your work there, please consider submitting your final paper to Policy & Politics.
This quarter’s highlights collection focuses on three of our most widely read and cited articles this year. All three were featured in our special issue published in July on Transformational Change in Public Policy which was guest edited by our co-editors: Oscar Berglund, Claire Dunlop, Elizabeth Koebele and Chris Weible.
Our first article is the introduction to the special issue entitled Transformational change through Public Policy written by our four co-editors.
The authors highlight how significant time and effort has been spent seeking to understand policy change around the major societal issues we face. Yet their findings show that most change tends to be incremental. The consequent challenge they set out is whether or not public policy scholarship is up to the job of developing a coherent research programme to build knowledge and enable necessary, positive transformational change.
Ingrid Bego, Anne Charlott Callerstig, Elisa Chieregato, Isabelle Engeli, Ashley English, Lenita Freidenvall, Season Hoard, Sophie Jacquot, Andrea Jochmann-Doell, Veronika Lemeire, Iga Magda, Amy Mazur, Susan Milner, Lucie Newsome, Ania Plomien, Sophie Pochic, Jill Rubery, Olga Salido, Francesca Scala, Alexandra Scheele, Sydney Smith, Andrea Spehar, and Ines Wagner.
The politics and policy addressing gender inequalities in public and private life evident across supra-national, national, local or organisational contexts, especially but not exclusively in the Global North, are nothing short of remarkable. The range of issues various actors promote to advance equality include care, division of labour, education, employment, health, pay, political participation, poverty of income and time, reproductive rights, violence and more. All these interests are underpinned by gendered social norms and power. Yet, the existence and prominence of the wide assortment of gender politics and policies is as much a cause for celebration as it is for concern. It represents both an achievement of the feminist struggle to legitimise and institutionalise feminist goals of improving women’s lives, juxtaposed with the uneven, unfinished, or indeed unintended outcomes of these efforts. Does gender equality policy work in practice?
Oscar Berglund, co-editor Policy & Politics
Last night, Policy & Politics was delighted to host Jess Phillips MP to speak to a large audience in Bristol about ‘Everything You Really Need to Know About Politics’.
Jess has been MP for Birmingham Yeardley since 2015 and is arguably one of Britain’s most prominent feminist politicians.
The aim of Phillips’ talk, based on her recent book of the same title, was to demystify British politics in an effort to strengthen the relationship between citizens and their elected representatives. The general scorn for politicians that is so common across the UK serves the Conservatives, she says. When people say ‘What’s the point in voting? You’re all the same’, people think that they are soldiers, that they are taking a stance. But on the contrary, to Phillips, it sounds like surrender.
Professor Stephanie Paterson
Professor Stephanie Paterson, one of the curators of our blog series spotlighting interpretive approaches to the study of policy and politics, explains our motivations behind the series and expands on the study of intersectionality from within critical policy studies…
Critical policy studies envelopes diverse approaches to the study of public policy, spanning institutionalist, materialist, and discursive approaches. A common feature, however, is their attention to power and commitment to social change.
Within this broad family of scholarship is intersectionality, a research paradigm originating within Black feminism that aims to expose and interrogate the intersectional or interlocking systems of oppression that shape lived experiences. Intersectionality has a long history that is rooted in Black feminist experience and thought (Bilge 2014; Hancock 2016). The paradigm began to take shape in the Combahee River Collective Statement (1977), which identified an “integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives.” From this, legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989) articulated the concept of intersectionality with reference to the metaphor of a traffic intersection (see Hancock 2016 for an overview).
Imrat Verhoeven, Michael Strange, and Gabriel Siles-Brügge.
Cities offer sanctuary to refugees against the wishes of national governments. Local governments oppose fracking initiatives from state governments. How do local governments contest perceived policy threats from supranational, national, or regional governments? In a recently published paper, we develop a new typology to make sense of the global phenomenon of ‘municipal contestation’.
Caroline Kuzemko, Mathieu Blondeel, and Antony Froggatt.
Now, a year and a half post the end of the transition period and as the Northern Ireland Protocol bill passes its first round of votes in the House of Commons, is a good moment to assess the implications of Brexit for UK energy and climate policy.
Brexit was framed as a route back towards a truly ‘Great’ Britain. Getting Brexit done was meant to ‘take back control of our money, laws and borders’ and enable new, global trading relationships, whilst also reducing bureaucratic burdens and keeping public funds in the UK, to be spent on the NHS. This infers that the UK would be able to do things ‘better’ than the EU.
Elizabeth Blakelock and John Turnpenny
Politicians in Great Britain are severely constrained when it comes to influencing the energy system. This is largely because decision making has been delegated – away from elected representatives to technical experts, and, specifically in the case of energy markets, to the regulator, Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets). Although legislation can attempt to shape Ofgem’s work, the impact of attempts to do so have been mixed at best. Continue reading