Paul Cairney reviews Graham Room’s Agile Actors on Complex Terrains (Routledge, 2016). Paul is guest editor of our 2018 special issue: Practical Lessons on Policy Theories
Some background context on complexity theory
If used wisely, complexity theory has the potential to make a great contribution to the study of politics and policymaking. It offers a way to think about, and visualise, the interaction between many actors, following many rules, to produce outcomes that we can relate to the properties of complex systems. Continue reading Paul Cairney reviews Graham Room’s book on Agile Actors on Complex Terrains (2016)
Ian Kirkpatrick, Andrew Sturdy, and Gianluca Veronesi
A recent study on the impact of management consultants on public service efficiency, published in Policy & Politics, prompted this letter from the authors calling for a moratorium on their use until effective governance is established.
Open letter to the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
2nd July, 2018
Dear Mr Hunt,
Re Calling for a moratorium on the use of external management consultants in the NHS until effective governance is established
We recently conducted independent research on the use of external management consultants in the NHS in England. This was subjected to peer review to establish the rigour of its analysis and published in an academic journal (Policy & Politics). Since then, it was mentioned in a parliamentary debate (23rd April, 2018, Hansard Volume 639) and widely reported in the media (21st February, 2018), including in The Times, which has also seen this letter. Continue reading Policy & Politics authors call for a moratorium on the use of management consultants in the NHS until effective governance is established
Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
This blog post was originally published on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation blog on 8 June 2018.
Someone from a black and minority ethnic background is twice as likely to experience poverty as someone from a white background in the UK. The Government’s developing Integration Strategy is an opportunity to right this wrong, but it currently neglects vital aspects of how to tackle poverty for people from different ethnic backgrounds – specifically how low pay and a lack of progression opportunities trap people in poverty. Continue reading Integration strategy must focus on tackling poverty for BME families
Joseph Drew and
This blog post was originally published on the Discover Society – Policy and Politics blog on 5 June 2018.
Policy-makers sometimes find themselves in desperate predicaments when attempting to become policy winners – especially when they have previously sustained resounding losses on a given issue. In such situations, rhetorical efforts may have failed to persuade audiences and, yet, the status quo position may also be untenable. In our recent Policy & Politics article on ‘Framing unpopular policies and creating winners – the role of heresthetics’ (free to access until 30 June), we show how policy-makers in these kinds of desperate predicaments can still win, somewhat against the odds, by employing the art of political manipulation (the term for this is ‘heresthetic’, coined by the late William H. Riker). Specifically, we draw attention to the ‘dimension’ heresthetic – arguing that by changing the way an unpopular policy is framed, one can tap into latent attitudes conducive to one’s cause and thus structure the world so that one can win. We call practitioners of this art of heresthetic ‘herestheticians’. Continue reading Framing unpopular policies and creating policy winners – the role of heresthetics
Felicity Matthews, Co-Editor of Policy & Politics
This blog post was originally published on the Democratic Audit UK website on 11 May 2018.
This year, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Few would disagree that the passage of these acts, which established the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales, was an important watershed in the United Kingdom’s majoritarian tradition. This milestone anniversary provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the extent to which devolution has delivered the ‘new politics’ that was widely anticipated; and in my recently published article in The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, I examine the extent to which devolution has ‘made a difference’ by systematically comparing the institutional architecture of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales with that of Westminster. Continue reading How majoritarianism endures in the structures of the UK’s devolved institutions
This blog post was originally published on the Oxford University Press Blog on 6 May 2018.
One of the great things about being on sabbatical is that you actually get a little time to hide away and do something that professors generally have very little opportunity to do – read books. As a result I have spent the last couple of months gorging myself on the scholarly fruits that have been piling-up on my desk for some time, in some cases years. I’ve read books on ‘slow scholarship’ (Berg and Seeber, 2016) and ‘How to be an academic super-hero’ (Hay, 2017); books on ‘radical approaches to political science’ (Eisfeld, 2012); brilliant books on The festival of insignificance (Kundera, 2015) and In Defence of Wonder (Tallis, 2012); and even novels on university life, such as Stoner (Williams, 2012). What fun it is to soak yourself in the literature! To swim from genre to genre, from topic to topic with a little more freedom to explore beyond your micro-specialism than is ever usually possible and, through this, to garner new insights. Continue reading Are we to blame? Academics and the rise of populism
Tanya Heikkila and
This blog is based on our recent article on policy design and the added value of the institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework in the 2018 special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories.
Policy design is hard work. Policymakers often struggle to reach agreement on whether or how to create or adapt policies in response to issues that involve complex or multi-faceted problems (or solutions), or where deep-seated value disagreements over problems or solutions exist. This raises the question: How can policymakers or analysts navigate and design effective policies around complex collective problems? Continue reading Diagnosing and assessing public policies: tips from the institutional analysis and development framework