Should governments use the stick on vaccine refusers?

Attwell NavinKatie Attwell & Mark Navin

What should governments do to people who don’t want to vaccinate? This question is especially pressing in the age of COVID-19, as policymakers face challenging questions about whether to exclude committed vaccine refusers from their jobs or public spaces. But this issue, like so many others during the pandemic, is highly contingent and uncertain: policymakers are implementing responses to vaccine refusal without being confident about the consequences of their policies. Continue reading

How volunteers support refugee families’ access to childcare in Germany: ‘Sometimes I ask myself, am I supporting a flawed system?

Siede MunchAnna Siede and Sybille Münch

The integration of migrants and refugees is often proclaimed to be a ‘two-way process’, leading not just to a transformation of the newcomers but the whole society. This requires efforts from both the state as well as civil society, ideally in co-operation. That’s how many policy documents in Germany phrase it. And indeed, since 2015 and now with the current arrival of Ukrainian refugees, we see unprecedented levels of civic engagement. So, where do we stand with regard to these new forms of interaction between state and society that are called “co-production”? Continue reading

Save the Date: Conference on Policy Process Research, January 10-14, Denver, USA

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Save the Date: January 10 – 14 2023 | Denver, CO USA
Advancing Policy Process Theories and Methods
Call for papers, roundtables panels, and workshops coming soon!
The Conference on Policy Process Research (COPPR) mission is to advance the scholarship of policy process theory and methods. It embraces a broad interpretation of theories and methods, supporting a plurality of theoretical perspectives. It welcomes both emergent and established theories and methods and questions of what it means to conduct science and engage with our communities. COPPR seeks to support both established and emerging research communities and build bridges among them. COPPR includes critical assessments of the lessons learned from the past, challenges to contemporary boundaries, proposals for innovative research agendas, and arguments of what our future should be. Continue reading

Making interpretive policy analysis critical and societally relevant: emotions, ethnography, and language

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Portrait von Mag. Dr. Anna Pospech Durnova in Wien, Okotber 2021 Copyright: Eugenie Sophie

Anna Durnová

Retrieving meanings from texts is not just about reading or counting words; texts are more than words put on a paper or a screen. These two phrases have repeatedly accompanied my responses to a mainstream audience at academic meetings when explaining how interpretive approaches work. The interpretive tradition is significant, going substantially beyond political science and public policy, and encompassing many concepts and tools to retrieve meanings from texts. As structured traces of meanings (both audiovisual and textual), texts reflect the world around us and shape our view and thus can tell us how we look at this world. Continue reading

Policy & Politics highlights collection May – July 2022 – free to access.

BROWN_SarahQuarterly highlights collection 3rd May – 31st July 2022

In this quarter’s highlights collection, we feature three articles that provide a range of insights from different contexts on the politics of governance. Continue reading

Spotlighting interpretive approaches to public policy scholarship

New Policy & Politics blog feature by Julia Jordan-Zachery.

We are delighted to launch a new feature on the Policy and Politics blog which aims to spotlight interpretive approaches to the study of policy and politics. As a mainstream journal, although our aim is to incorporate pluralist perspectives, the reality is that have received and become known for some types of scholarship rather than others.

This spotlight series hopes to encourage a greater range of scholarship, and, to this end, our first feature showcases interpretive perspectives on policy problems.

In this piece, Julia Jordan-Zachery provides an excellent snapshot of the history and practice of intersectionality, illuminating some of its policy implications. Continue reading

Why refrain from torturing foreigners abroad?: British counterterrorism and the international prohibition of torture. 

Janina Heaphy newJanina Heaphy

My recent article published in Policy & Politics explores why politicians would decide to restrict their own counterterrorism operations, despite a persistently high terrorist threat and little pressure from the public? After years of violating human rights in the name of counterterrorism, the UK, for instance, implemented new policies, which, at least on paper, were supposed to protect foreigners abroad from the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, and its American partners’ coercive interrogation practices. Usually, such changes are attributed to a scandal, to the governing politicians’ ideology, to the public mood, or to a particularly strong lobby group – but what if all these explanations simply do not apply, as was the case for the so-called British “Principles” in 2019? Continue reading

How can non-elected representatives secure democratic representation?

fossheim-karin2Karin Fossheim

Research on the democratic legitimacy of non-elected actors influencing policy while acting as representatives is often lacking in governance literature, despite being increasingly relevant worldwide in both established and emerging democracies. Recent theories of representation argue that there are non-electoral mechanisms to appoint such non-elected representatives and hold them responsible for their actions. Consequently, democratic non-electoral representation can be achieved. Through in-depth, empirical analysis, this article explores democratic non-electoral representation in governance networks by comparing how non-elected representatives, their constituents and the decision-making audience understand the outcome of representation to benefit the constituency, authorisation and accountability. This analysis explores the perspectives of the non-elected representatives, the constituency and the audience and discusses the theoretical implications of the results.

The research findings conclude that all three groups mostly share the understanding of democratic non-electoral representation as ongoing interactions between representatives and constituents, multiple (if any) organisational and discursive sources of authorisation and deliberative aspects of accountability. All of these are mechanisms that, in the absence of elections, can secure democratic representation. Contrary to what the theory suggests, accountability based on sanctions is not considered essential to ensure democratic non-electoral representation.

These findings make an important contribution to the literature on non-electoral representation in policymaking and to the broader literature on representative democracy.


You can read the original research in Policy & Politics

Fossheim Karin (2022) How can non-elected representatives secure democratic representation? Policy and Politics DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/030557321X16371011677734

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Why don’t citizens give governments credit when they deliver on electoral pledges?


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.

How partisan politics influence government policies in response to ageing populations

Kweon & Suzuki
Yesola Kweon & Kohei Suzuki

Unlike other social policies which disproportionately target economically disadvantaged individuals, old-age programs, like pensions, mitigate life-course risks that are relevant to everyone. Whether someone is lower- or upper-class, young or old, everyone ages and could experience unexpected costs and reduced income. For this reason, all parties across the ideological spectrum have a political incentive to support these programs. Nevertheless, in our new article in Policy & Politics, ‘How partisan politics influence government policies in response to ageing populations,’ we emphasize that partisan politics still matter in determining the modes of policy provision in response to an ageing population. Continue reading

Analysing boundaries of health and social care in policy and media reform narratives: the epic and tragic narratives of policy reform.

Duijn Bannink NiesSarah van Duijn, Duco Bannink & Henk Nies

When we wrote this blog, Ukraine had not yet been invaded by Russia. However, it would feel inappropriate to us to publish this blog without acknowledging it. We are aware that we are no experts in the field of geopolitics or international relations. However, we cannot help but remark that the strategies we found in our article have become amplified in the rhetoric that surrounds the war in Ukraine. Indeed, the epic-tragic mechanism is part and parcel of democratic processes – as we show in our article – but it is also a part of incomparably worse phenomena such as (threats of) war. Continue reading