Democracy without the state

tessa-profile2by Tessa Coombes, guest blogger for P&P Conference 2015.

The Policy and Politics Annual Conference 2015 kicked off with a fascinating challenge to our thinking about democracy and the state. Mark Purcell, from the University of Washington, took us on a philosophical journey of discovery about the true meaning of the word democracy, concluding with the notion that the state and democracy are the antithesis of one another.

Mark offered us what he termed a minor current of thought to haunt our discussions and to stimulate new and better currents of thought throughout the conference. He premised his presentation on the idea that the state and democracy need to be seen as antithesis and that we do indeed need democracy.

The debate about power, according to Mark, is about more than we think it is and we need to think about it differently; we need to think of it as power to rather than over. That is, all people retain power to act into and change the Continue reading

The Conservative government’s promotion of financialisation is transforming citizenship in the UK

Craig Berry
Craig Berry

Craig Berry is Deputy Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. His latest article ‘Citizenship in a financialised society: financial inclusion and the state before and after the crash’ is available on fast track.

While the New Labour-ish language of ‘financial inclusion’ and ‘asset-based welfare’ has been quietly eschewed, since 2010 the Conservative Party has continued its predecessor’s agenda around promoting more extensive and intensive participation in the financial system, through asset ownership, in order to enable individuals to play an enhanced role in ensuring their own long term financial security.

This agenda is, understandably, usually assessed in terms of the impact on financial well-being. Yet its implications for the meaning and practice of citizenship may be just as significant Continue reading

Policy & Politics @ Thinking Futures

As part of Thinking Futures, the Annual Festival of Social Sciences at the University of Bristol, Policy & Politics supported a session called ‘nudge and the state’. Professor Alex Marsh from the University of Bristol, and Dr Fiona Spotswood, from the University of the West of England, Bristol, debated the rights and wrongs of using nudge in public policy. Alex has posted a blog on the session, which you can read here.

Nudge has created considerable debate in both academic and policy circles. We are delighted to be able to make one of our articles on the subject free this month. In 2013 Peter John wrote on the subject in our Special Issue that year. Readers of that article might also like to see Will Legget’s piece from 2014.