Policy & Politics, Volume 43, issue 1, is now available in print and online. David Sweeting introduces the issue.
The latest issue of Policy & Politics showcases some of the most creative and innovative work that is going on in the field, covering a variety of topics. As ever, the contributions combine theoretical insight with empirical analysis, and offer a wide geographical spread. The issue also contains our first ‘research provocation’ piece.
The opening article, authored by co-editor Matthew Flinders and Katharine Dommett, draws on Chris Hood’s original piece in the 1980 volume of the journal to critique the coalition government’s policy on the reform of state architecture. They conclude that rather than a simple case of abolition, the approach towards quangos can be best understood as dual approach of ‘bureau shuffling’ and strengthening internal control. Amanda Crompton’s piece discusses public participation in relation to HS2. Her nuanced analysis takes an organic perspective to participation, and explores the interactions between planners, policy-makers, and the public, and suggests that ways to ‘formalise the informal’ may offer a productive way forward for involvement processes. The Gender Equality Duty in Scotland is the focus for the article by Michele Burman and Jenny Johnstone. The authors conclude, with some qualification, that the strategic and holistic approach to gender based violence in Scotland made it more receptive to the gender equality agenda than other nations. Judith Raven, Peter Achterberg, and Romke van der Veen offer a perspective on welfare state reforms in the Netherlands. They focus on perceptions of deservingness to in relation to shaping welfare distribution, and, drawing on empirical data, in what appears to be a familiar drift, note prevailing trends that tend towards decrease redistribution, and increase commodification. In a wide ranging analysis across 22 European countries, Jette Steen Knudsen, Jeremy Moon, and Rieneke Slager analyse policies for Corporate Social Responsibility. They note that countries in northern Europe have done more to institutionalise CSR policies than countries in in southern or Eastern Europe. Andrew Rider explores important questions related to the politics of the greater good and localism in his insightful paper on gypsies and travellers in the UK. Uncovering evidence of a ’new centralism’, he calls for more dialogue and engagement in order to respond to the needs of this marginalised group. The role of formal and informal care networks in extreme weather events is the focus for the article by Jonathan Wistow, Lena Dominelli, Katie Oven, Christine Dunn, and Sarah Curtis. Using case study research, this novel analysis adds to our understanding of the resilience of care agencies and their users in such circumstances.
The final article in this issue is the first in our ‘research provocations’ series. Articles published in this section offer fresh perspectives, develop theoretical advancements and highlight emergent research agendas. This section offers the opportunity for authors to launch high-profile critiques, to showcase acute but comprehensive contributions and to initiate challenging dialogues. In this vein we are delighted to be able to publish a critical analysis by Catherine Durose, Jonathan Justice, and Chris Skelcher. This article questions the conventional wisdom around the democratic deficit posed by arm’s length governance. Instead, they explore the democratic potential of such governance, and in doing so consider the normative implications of such a stance.