Updating your course reading lists? Check out our essential reading recommendations for teaching Public Participation, Gender and the Policy Process, and Policy Innovation from Policy & Politics

Elizabeth SarahElizabeth Koebele with Sarah Brown

Are you planning a new policy or politics-focused course? Or maybe you’re updating your existing syllabi with some of the newest research on policy and politics? We’re here to help! In this blog, we provide recommendations for new Policy & Politics articles (as well as a few older favorites) that make excellent contributions to syllabi for a diversity of courses. We hope this saves you time and effort in mining our recent articles while also ensuring your course materials reflect the latest research from the frontiers of the discipline.

This year, our recommendations are structured around three topical “units,” each featuring three suggested Policy & Politics articles:

Unit 1: Public Participation in Governance
The implications of COVID-19 for concepts and practices of citizenship (Moon and Cho, 2022)
The impact of direct democracy on policy change: insights from European citizens’ initiatives (Tosun et al. 2022)
The impact of participatory policy formulation on regulatory legitimacy: the case of Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) (Blakelock & Turnpenny, 2022)
Unit 2: Gender and the Policy Process
Challenging boundaries to expand frontiers in gender and policy studies (Lombardo and Meier, 2022)
Lessons from policy theories for the pursuit of equity in health, education and gender policy (Cairney et al. 2022)
The politics of intersectional practice: competing concepts of intersectionality (Christoffersen, 2021)
Unit 3: Policy Innovations for Emerging Problems
Collaborative governance and innovation in public services settings (van Gestel and Grotenberg, 2021).
The dynamic role of governments in adopting policy innovations in China (Huang and Weibrecht, 2021)
How the governance of and through digital contact tracing technologies shapes geographies of power (Metzler and Am, 2022)

Our first unit on Public Participation in Governance considers how members of the public influence – and are influenced by – policy-making processes. The first article by Jae M. Moon and B. Shine Cho, entitled The implications of COVID-19 for concepts and practices of citizenship, analyses the evolving definition of citizenship and argues that citizens now play a more active role in addressing wicked problems, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second article, entitled The impact of direct democracy on policy change: insights from European citizens’ initiatives, by Jale Tosun, Daniel Béland and Yannis Papadopoulos, challenges traditional notions of citizens’ limited impact on policy change. In a study of European Citizen’s Initiatives, the authors find that citizen participation can have powerful direct and indirect effects on policy that contribute to broader transformational societal change.

The third article is The impact of participatory policy formulation on regulatory legitimacy: the case of Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), by Elizabeth Blakelock and John Turnpenny. The authors analyse public participation in energy market regulation, finding that unequal influence among policy actors undermines the legitimacy of the regulatory participation process.

Our second unit focuses on Gender and the Policy Process. The first featured article by Emanuela Lombardo and Petra Meier asks how gender and policy studies can contribute to a more inclusive society. The authors urge gender policy scholars to reflect more deeply on power in order to avoid reproducing the unequal relations they often seek to dismantle in their scholarship, such as by more systematically examining the intersectional implications of policies. They also call for more proposals on how society ought to look, as opposed to critiques of existing conditions alone.

Next, Paul Cairney, Emily St Denny, Sean Kippin and Heather Mitchell ask if policy theories could help us to understand and facilitate the pursuit of equity or the reduction of inequalities. Through an analysis of the health, gender and education policy domains, they advocate for ‘social justice’ approaches that can better address the social and economic causes of inequality. Critically, they caution that seeking shortcuts and technical fixes to such profound political problems is a waste of time, as they ignore or even undermine the steps needed to provoke transformational change.

Finally, for this unit, Ashlee Christoffersen’s article focuses on applying intersectionality in policy and practice. In her analysis of how policymakers understand intersectionality, she finds five contradictory uses of the term, some of which deepen inequalities and some of which reduce them. She then draws out their consequent limitations and effects, producing a set of clear recommendations for policymakers seeking to institutionalise intersectionality.

Our final unit is on the topic of Policy Innovations for Emerging Problems. Our first article by Nicolette van Gestel and Sanne Grotenberg analyses Collaborative governance and innovation in public services settings. Their analysis of regional labour networks distinguishes between ‘small’ innovations, such as public organisations offering services together (the ‘one-stop shop’ idea) and broader innovations where truly new solutions are developed collaboratively to solve persistent problems. They find the former occurs more frequently and identify barriers and opportunities for broader network innovation.

Our second article is The dynamic role of governments in adopting policy innovations in China by Biao Huang and Felix Wiebrecht. The authors analyse why higher-level governments in China intervene proactively in local innovations in some cases, but only offer their backing in others. They find that it depends on who perceives ownership over the ‘innovation copyright,’ which sets expectations for vertical interactions among governments.

Our final article on policy innovations examines How the governance of and through digital contact tracing technologies shapes geographies of power. In this article, Ingrid Metzler and Heidrun Am explore what governance through technologies means for democracy and power. Through case studies of contact tracing apps in Norway and Austria, they find that citizen’s rights and duties became defined through and inscribed in technologies run by private companies rather than the state.

If you found these recommendations helpful, we encourage you to check out last year’s reading list blog, featuring the topics of 1) expertise and knowledge in policymaking, 2) actors and influence in the policy process, and 3) policy diffusion. And please let us know if you have a topic you’d like to see covered in a future reading list blog!

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics:
The implications of COVID-19 for concepts and practices of citizenship

The impact of direct democracy on policy change: insights from European citizens’ initiatives

The impact of participatory policy formulation on regulatory legitimacy: the case of Great Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)

Challenging boundaries to expand frontiers in gender and policy studies

Lessons from policy theories for the pursuit of equity in health, education and gender policy

The politics of intersectional practice: competing concepts of intersectionality

Collaborative governance and innovation in public services settings

The dynamic role of governments in adopting policy innovations in China

How the governance of and through digital contact tracing technologies shapes geographies of power

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blog post authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Policy & Politics, the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site

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