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
Sarah 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
Jonathan J Pierce
In the past year, rioters have stormed the US Capitol building trying to overthrow a presidential election, protestors have marched against police brutality in support of Black Lives Matter, governments have spent trillions of dollars on bailing out the economy, people are protesting mask mandates and lockdowns, and white supremacy and anti-fascist movements are growing daily and seeking a revolution. This is all occurring while the world faces the largest public health crisis in over a century. People are angry and anxious about today’s politics. Can theories and frameworks of public policy explain the influence of emotions? My conclusion based on my recent research published in Policy & Politics is no. Continue reading
Rianne Dekker, Caroline Oliver & Karin Geuijen
When numbers of refugees seeking asylum increase, local governments are prompted to open new asylum seeker centres (ASCs). This happened for example during the European ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015-16, and more recently, with increasing numbers of people fleeing Afghanistan. Decisions to open facilities such as ASCs often inspire opposition which local governments must navigate. This is the issue we explore in our recent article in Policy & Politics where we ask: Can community involvement policies mitigate NIMBYism and local opposition to asylum seeker centres?
Usually, governments assume that opposition to a facility is fueled by NIMBYism, where residents object to a facility’s local siting but would not object if it was opened elsewhere. They adopt strategies to isolate the facility from its locality, to prevent possible negative impacts. However, in many cases, local opposition has deeper roots than NIMBYism and requires a different policy approach. Continue reading
My recent article in Policy & Politics, The politics of intersectional practice: Competing concepts of intersectionality, shares findings from the first empirical study internationally to explore how both practitioners and policymakers themselves understand how to operationalise ‘intersectionality’. I found that there are five contradictory uses of ‘intersectionality’, some of which further equality for intersectionally marginalised communities, while others actually deepen inequalities (Table 1). In this post I share key recommendations arising for both policy and ‘practice’ (the work of third sector practitioners – delivering services, community development and policy advocacy). These findings also hold relevance for public sector practitioners and grassroots organisations. Continue reading
Social investment is an increasingly influential approach – both among policymakers and social policy scholars – which emphasizes the economic benefits of welfare state interventions. Improving people’s education, for example, not only ameliorates their wellbeing but also their productive potential, thereby contributing to economic growth.
Critics of this approach have argued that social investment tends to replace value-based considerations (e.g. based on notions of needs and rights) with an economic evaluation of social policy, e.g. conceiving individuals narrowly and instrumentally as “human capital”. By substituting “social” logic with cost-benefit calculations, social investment may also lead to the adoption of policies that reinforce the marginalisation of vulnerable groups. Indeed, the economic rationale suggests focusing policies on those groups that offer the highest returns on investment in terms of employment and productivity. But what about deprived groups who have no valuable “human capital” to offer? Continue reading
There is a pressing need for policies that will help to overcome some of the intractable social and economic problems of our time, such as increasing economic inequality, growing insecurity and labour market polarisation, and, most importantly, the climate change crisis. Both academics and policymakers will need to learn to think ‘outside the box’ to explore new ideas and solutions. Continue reading
By Sarah Ayres, Felicity Matthews and Steve Martin
Co-editors of Policy & Politics
We are delighted to announce the 2020 prizes for award winning papers published in Policy & Politics in 2019. Continue reading
Stephanie DeMora, Loren Collingwood, Adriana Ninci
As recently as last week, Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws were used to States justify killing as self-defense. In Georgia, three young men were shot and killed in what is being called an attempted murder. In the most well-known SYG case, George Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.
Florida was one of the first states to pass Stand Your Ground or No Duty to Retreat legislation in 2005. SYG legislation then spread rapidly to many states throughout the country. Research shows a significant increase in murder rates in states with Stand Your Ground laws. Our research showed that SYG laws passed after Florida’s were not only similar in content, but almost textually identical from state to state. We investigated this phenomenon further in our recent Policy & Politics article entitled “The Role of Super Interest Groups in Public Policy Diffusion” Continue reading
Selen A. Ercan, Carolyn M. Hendriks and John S. Dryzek
Imagine a crowded restaurant that is starting to get noisy. The noise at each table begins to rise as people try to make themselves heard. Eventually the noise becomes so loud that nobody can hear anything. Here’s a familiar context where there is plenty of expression, but precious little listening, and not much good conversation.
The noisy restaurant is a metaphor, we believe, for what we see in contemporary democracy where citizens have plenty of opportunities to express their views and opinions about anything that concerns them, but there is no guarantee and little likelihood that these views will be listened to, reflected upon, and/or taken up by decision-making bodies.