Table of Contents

Context in Public Policy and Management

Context in Public Policy and Management

The Missing Link?

Edited by Christopher Pollitt

‘Putting into context’ is a very common phrase – both in the social sciences and beyond. But what exactly do we mean by this, and how do we do it? In this book, leading scholars in public policy and management tackle these issues. They show how ideas of context are central to a range of theories and explanations and use an international range of case studies to exemplify context-based explanation. The book uncovers the complexity that lies behind an apparently simple notion, and offers a variety of approaches to decipher that complexity. Context is indeed a missing link, which enables us to make sense of the vital relationship between the general and the particular.

First link

Christopher Pollitt

Subjects: business and management, public management, politics and public policy, public administration and management, public policy


This is the first of several ‘links’ in the book. These are not intended to summarize the preceding chapters, still less to critique them all in some systematic way. On the contrary, the links will be very selective. They are no more than my musings – a possible abuse of my editorial privileges – drawing out some very specific issues that struck me as being of particular interest or importance. They are links in the sense that I am hoping to make links between chapters and, beyond that, across the book as a whole. They are also links in their larger ambition, occasionally to connect the discussion between these covers with other, wider discussions taking place elsewhere in the social sciences, or in the everyday life of public policy and management. I begin with the various attempts to define the varieties of contextualism. In the opening chapter, Turo Virtanen distinguishes between (1) epistemological and methodological contextualism, (2) ontological contextualism and (3) historical and linguistic contextualism.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information