New Frontiers & Cardinal Challenges for Scholars of Policy & Politics

P&P 2021 EditorsOscar Berglund, Claire A. Dunlop, and Christopher M. Weible

Policy & Politics serves as the ecumenical journal for the sects and strands found in the studies of social policy, public policy, policy processes and politics. It offers a home for scholars espousing a plurality of ontological, epistemological, and methodological orientations to share their science, learn and challenge each other, and enhance their knowledge.

You’ll find that its latest Special Issue, “Taking Risks and Breaking New Frontiers in Policy & Politics,” embodies the course and cover of Policy & Politics.  For this Special Issue, we challenged a group of leading scholars from different communities in the field to explore questions of inclusivity, diversity and relevance in their areas of expertise.

We encourage you to explore the exegesis on mainstream policy process theories by Tanya Heikkila and Michael D. Jones (2022) and how and whether they should incorporate equity and diversity. Next, examine Anna P. Durnová’s (2022) arguments on making interpretive policy analysis relevant through the study of emotions and using ethnographic approaches that furl human biases and normativity into research. Emanuela Lombardo and Petra Meier’s contribution (2022) challenges gender and policy studies to cross boundaries in exploring issues of equity and power and offers strategies for realizing more democratic and egalitarian societies. Consider the arguments by Saba Siddiki and Cali Curley (2022) who encapsulate recent advances in policy design research with recommendations for its continued progression, including questions of the choices policymakers make and their societal effects. Learn from Osmany Porto de Oliveira’s (2022) deft synopsis of global public policy studies and contemplate his research questions regarding power, the far-right, and the COVID-19 pandemic.  Finally, sharpen your insights about the interplay between citizens and public policy along with the impact of the pandemic, as discussed by Jae Moon and Shine Cho (2022).

Each of us will find pertinent lessons in this Special Issue about what we know in our varied communities of scholarship and how we’re addressing or could address better questions of inclusivity, diversity and relevance.  It has prompted us to ask five cardinal questions about the study of policy and politics:

(1) How do we conceive of policy and political studies?

(2) To what extent should our science be “normative” or “objective” or “positive”?

(3) Who is our audience, and how do we engage them?

(4) Whose knowledge matters, and how does it accumulate?

(5) How should we advance the study of policy and politics? 

Our introduction to this Special Issue posits these questions and some initial – though surely not final – responses. Indeed, we want to know what cardinal questions were missed and how to improve upon our responses.

In all, we hope this Special Issue moves you to embrace an openness to the diversity of scholarship in policy and politics and to consider the journal Policy & Politics as a home for making connections, advancing our sciences and serving humanity. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also be interested to read:

Global Public Policy studies

Challenging boundaries to expand frontiers in gender and policy studies

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

How diverse and inclusive are policy process theories?

The implications of COVID-19 for concepts and practices of citizenship

Conceptualising policy design in the policy process

Policy & Politics: a perspective on the first half century

Taking risks and breaking new frontiers: introduction to the Special Issue and the cardinal challenges for policy and politics scholarship

Policy & Politics: Serving and Enhancing our Metacommunities

Oscar Berglund, Claire Dunlop and Christopher M. Weible

In the study of ecological systems, there is a concept called metacommunities. The idea is that a species might be dispersed in different yet interconnected communities.  These metacommunities might emerge and grow for reasons of fit, space, survival, or chance.  These metacommunities interconnect through some species traversing between them either rarely or habitually. Over time metacommunities might also evolve and adapt to their particular niches. For those who care about supporting ecological systems that might be dispersed in interconnected niches, metacommunities provide a broad language and perspective to help visualize, understand, and govern.

As editors for Policy & Politics, we view this metaphor of metacommunities apt for describing the broadly defined field of public policy, which is dispersed in many communities, each with their own research approaches, lexicons, and traditions.  We also see that some scholars navigate between communities more than others.   In describing academia, we often refer to these metacommunities as silos where some silos are more isolated or connected than others as well as some silos existing within other silos.  Similar to metacommunities, silos might emerge and grow as scholars search for space to develop their ideas, self-sort with others of similar orientations, and more. Continue reading

Annual Policy & Politics prizewinners announced!

winners

Competition winners pictured: Madeleine Pill, Valeria Guarneros-Meza, Christopher M. Weible & Paul Cairney 

Written by Sarah Ayres, Steve Martin and Felicity Matthews, Co-Editors of Policy & Politics

The Bleddyn Davies Best Early Career prize has been awarded to: Madeleine Pill and Valeria Guarneros-Meza for their article on Local governance under austerity: hybrid organisations and hybrid officers  

In this excellent paper, Madeleine Pill & Valeria Guarneros-Meza explore what austerity means for participation in city governance.  Continue reading

Policy & Politics Highlights: our Winter collection

Sarah Brown 1Sarah Brown,
Journal Manager of Policy & Politics

Policy & Politics Highlights collection 1 November 2018 – 31 January 2019.

For our Winter Highlights collection from Policy & Politics, we’ve chosen three of the most popular articles from our recent special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories.

Continue reading

Introduction to the 2018 special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories

WeibleCairneyChristopher M. Weible and Paul Cairney

In this Special Issue of Policy & Politics, we issue a challenge to policy theory scholars to change the way they produce and communicate research: translate your findings to a wider audience to garner feedback on gauge their clarity and quality.

Policy theories have generated widespread knowledge of the policy process, but the field is vast and uncoordinated, and too many scholars write and speak with so much jargon that ideas become obfuscated, hardly understandable to other scholars, and beyond the interests of people outside of academia. As scholars, we often assume, rather than demonstrate, that our ideas convincingly make sense to people beyond our narrow academic circles and that policy process research contains insights that add cumulative and comparable knowledge to practice and the field.  Continue reading

Introducing our 2018 Policy & Politics special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories

Christopher M. Weible and Paul Cairney

Introducing our 2018 Policy & Politics special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories, published in April now available online and in print. (Free to access online until 31 May)

Professors Christopher. M. Weible from the University of Colorado, Denver and Paul Cairney from the University of Stirling talk in the video below about their motivation for producing a special issue on drawing practical lessons from policy theories, and why their subject is so important.  Continue reading

Practical Lessons from Policy Theories: a new agenda

Weible workshop 2Professors Chris Weible and Paul Cairney were the successful applicants for our 2019 special issue call for proposals. This blog post summarises a recent workshop held in Colorado on their topic Practical Lessons from Policy Theories by way of presaging some of the key research themes they will pursue in their special issue.

Policy theories provide profound lessons for people trying to understand and engage with the policy process. As policy scholars we often take them for granted, but for non-specialists they can represent a new way of thinking. So, sharing these insights helps scholars and practitioners. Explaining our theories clearly gives us a new way to take stock of policy theory: how does it help us think about and act within the policy process?

That’s why we asked a group of experts to describe the ‘state of the art’ in their field and the practical lessons that they offer. Continue reading