Felicity Matthews (University of Sheffield), Co-Editor of Policy & Politics
“Politics in Interesting Times”. Has ever a conference title been so apt, or provided such a unifying theme? This year’s PSA Conference, held at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, was host to a record number of delegates, who had travelled from 75 countries to reflect on the interesting times that we inhabit. Brexit, Scottish independence, forthcoming elections in Italy and France, the election of Trump, the decline of traditional parties, the rise of populism, new forms of representation and participation. All of these issues – and many, many more – were discussed, debated and often contested within the conference’s ten panel sessions. Continue reading “Politics in Interesting Times” – Report from the Annual Political Studies Association Conference, University of Strathclyde
Christopher Byrne, University of Exeter
The term neoliberalism is most commonly used to refer to the free market-oriented reforms enacted by right-wing governments in the UK and US throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and continued by ‘Third Way’ politicians such as Tony Blair in the UK and Gerhard Schroeder in Germany into the 2000s and beyond. Recently, mainly as a consequence of ‘Brexit’ — Britain’s rejection of EU membership in a 2016 referendum — and the victory of avowed economic nationalist Donald Trump in the recent US presidential election, there has been talk of the end of the neoliberal era. Continue reading Making sense of neoliberalism in the era of Brexit and Trump
On 7 March Will Self delivers the 22nd Policy & Politics Annual Lecture about the end of champagne socialism.
He will examine developments in thinking about socialism over the past half-century – what the rise of Corbyn tells us about British attitudes towards socialism (and by extension capitalism), and what the changes have been in how we conceive – and repurpose – the links between the personal and the political in times of accelerated change.
To mark the occasion we are making a collection of articles that resonate with the theme of the lecture free to access until the end of March: Continue reading Free article collection for the Policy & Politics Annual Lecture: Will Self on The End of Champagne Socialism
Moshe Maor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Since the U.S. response to 9/11 and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, there has been increasing interest in the concept of disproportionate policy response and its two component concepts ─ policy over- and underreaction. This policy response is understood to be a lack of ‘fit’ or balance between the costs of a public policy and the benefits that are derived from this policy, and between policy ends and means. So far, however, little scholarly attention has been devoted to this type of policy response and to its two anchor concepts. This is because of the impression that disproportionate policies are not carefully thought out; are not carefully implemented; are based on strategic misperceptions, and are bound to fail. The few studies that address this topic have concluded that this policy response is unintentional, occurring when policymakers engage in mistakes of omission or commission in the diagnosis and the prescription stages of decision-making. Continue reading Understanding Trump: Modes of Deliberate Disproportionate Policy Response
By Rowland Atkinson
Can we speculate that there is a relationship between the massive changes in policy and political life since the financial crisis of more or less ten years ago and the look and feel of the streets and homes in our towns and cities? It was not long after the crisis began that I made a journey by car through the semi-rural areas bordering Manchester and Chester and was surprised at the number of homes with new, large and electronic gates. Why would we find these kinds of features in leafy areas with presumably low crime rates? Why indeed would we expect to find now well over a thousand gated communities in a country like the UK that has traditionally not only enjoyed a relatively low crime rate but also a history of more or less open streetscapes and a celebration of public footpaths and byways? We know that the reasons for these changes are complex and lie in a mix of factors that include a search for badges of social standing as well as a fear of crime. Yet the reality in many streets today is of a proliferation not of large gated communities but the rise of what Sarah Blandy and I recently called domestic fortresses. In many neighbourhoods it is possible to see shuttered and gated large homes side-by-side with those with little or no such visible protection. What explains these variations and what does it mean, if anything at all, for questions of policy today? Continue reading Borderlands of the private home: Uncertain social times and our growing fortress mentality
By Felicity Matthews
At 07:20 on 24 June 2016, the result of the ‘once-in-a-generation’ referendum was announced. Little over an hour later the Prime Minister made his own announcement on the steps of Downing Street, stating that it ‘would not be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination’. Since then, one word has been on the lips of Westminster watchers. Bre… OK, not that one. Another. One beginning with ‘m’: MANDATE. Who has a mandate? To do what? By when? How? Continue reading Policy & Politics Co-editor Felicity Matthews reflects on the first months of Theresa May’s new Conservative government.
Warren Pearce & Sarah Hartley
Depoliticisation is a key trend identified in the political science literature in recent years, succinctly defined by Flinders and Wood as “the narrowing of the boundaries of democratic politics”. Henrik Bang identifies “big politics” as a root cause of depoliticisation, where ‘star quality’ politicians, academics and others dominate the public debate, squeezing out the less powerful and eroding the links between authority and the public. If citizens feel constrained by such parameters of politics, then perhaps it is unsurprising when they vote for radical options such as leaving the European Union or electing Donald Trump to the US presidency. So here, depoliticisation is a means of suppressing debate, only for it to erupt at a later point in the political process. Continue reading Politicising science: necessary, not evil