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Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Robert Hoppe and H.K. Colebatch

One of the reviewers of an earlier draft of this handbook questioned whether there was any need for the editors to say anything more at this point: ‘The chapters speak for themselves’, it was said. Well, perhaps they do, but we saw a handbook on the policy process as being more than a collection of self-referential chapters; we wanted it to be a user’s guide to the ways in which scholars have crafted their analyses of policy as part of the pursuit of governing – that is, the way in which they have theorised ‘policy’. In our introductory chapter, we outlined our perspective on policy as a concept which is mobilised by both participants and observers in the accomplishment of governing, and explained why we had structured this handbook the way we did. In closing the book, we want to review how this perspective has contributed to our growing understanding of the process of governing, and the concepts we use to make sense of it. In doing so, we revisit the questions that ordered this handbook: do the different meanings of ‘policy’ have a recognisable ‘architecture’ that puts them under a common ‘signature’? What does it mean to speak of a ‘policy process’? Is it possible to order the field of theorising the policy process in a few root metaphors or panoramic views of policymaking? And how do these views relate to each other – are they parallel and complementary, rivals or incommensurable? In posing and answering these questions, we cannot avoid adding our own observations, accents and reflections as editors to the ways our authors have responded to our original calls. We stressed that we did not want this handbook to be simply a menu of ‘leading theories of the policy process’; this has already been done (most recently, by Weible and Sabatier, 2017). We have focused on the process of theorising: the way in which practitioners, observers and the public have used the idea of policy, and of a policy process, to make sense of governing in contemporary society. ‘Policy’ is used in a diversity of ways, often undefined and ambiguous, and eludes any attempt to confine it in a clear definition. At best, ‘policy’ is an ‘umbrella’ for a set of family resemblances (Wittgenstein, 1953/2010) under one non-essentialist concept. Following Agamben, it is perhaps even more honest and precise to speak of a range of problematic phenomena or events that bear the ‘signature’ of policy. All social inquiry, policy inquiry included, involves the identification of enigmatic, problematic situations and events and the choice of pertinent concepts, ‘which entail signatures, without which they remain inert and unproductive’ (Agamben, 2009: 78). What we in scholarly parlance call ‘concepts’, start their scientific trajectories as ‘signatures’, which act like clues or keys to ‘unlock’ those enigmatic situations and make them ‘legible’. Only much later, as links between observation and models are established, do the signatures acquire, justifiably or not, the character of scientific ‘concepts’

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Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

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Byron Miller

While globalization processes have operated for centuries, the present era of globalization has given rise to extremes of income inequality and wealth, capital and information transfer, and resource consumption and consumerism with attendant environmental consequences. Behind contemporary globalization lurks the question: for whom? The distribution of the costs and benefits of globalization has been highly uneven, both amongst nation-states and within them. Moreover, globalization processes have been controlled and advanced in large measure by states and corporations of the global North and their proxy institutions of global governance – the IMF, World Bank, and WTO. The problematic nature of contemporary globalization has given rise to a variety of responses, including defenses of the status quo, left-wing anti-globalization movements, and right-wing anti-globalization movements laced with xenophobic populism. In contrast to responses that either embrace or reject globalization in its present form, alter-globalization movements (sometimes called ‘global justice movements’) do not seek to end globalization through a return to an imaginary golden era of national autarky. Rather, they seek global engagement and exchange on a basis that protects and advances values of social, economic, and environmental justice. Interestingly, the very idea of just forms of globalization requires the rethinking of norms of justice, which can no longer be tied to the Westphalian nation-state. Moreover, strategies for creating a more just world may take a variety of geographical forms, focusing on different geographical scales. Alternative projects of globalization recognize the relationship between the global (which is always ‘somewhere’) and the local, creatively experimenting with new forms of organization along the local-global continuum.

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Edited by Richard Eccleston and Ainsley Elbra

Since the financial crisis the extent of corporate tax avoidance has attracted media headlines and the attention of political leaders the world over. This study examines the ‘new’ politics of corporate taxation and the role of civil society organisations in shaping the international tax agenda and influencing the tax practices of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations. It highlights the complex and multi-dimensional strategies used by activists to influence public opinion, formal regulation and corporate behaviour in relation to international taxation.
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Simon Dalby

Climate change is an increasingly urgent matter of global politics, a consequence of the huge success of the fossil-fueled global economy. The longstanding discussion of the Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock’s ideas of earth as a self-regulating life system, and the dangers that rising greenhouse gas concentrations present to this system, foreshadow contemporary earth system science discussions. The formulation of earth as now in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, has added forcefully to Lovelock’s contentions, and made it clear that globalization now needs to be understood as a driving force operating at such a scale that it is transforming the planet in ways that are very dangerous for the future of humanity. Current attempts to tackle climate change are only the beginning of what needs to be done to shape the Anthropocene in ways that will be benign to humanity’s future.

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Joe Williams

This chapter argues that the development of large-scale seawater desalination over the last two decades has been intimately linked to the privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of water services in general, and urban water in particular. It contends that a desalination “plant” should be more accurately understood as a desalination “factory”, which creates a manufactured product (potable water) in a pre-arranged quantity and with a pre-specified quality. The chapter provides a detailed analysis of the convoluted development of desalination as a decentralised and local water supply for San Diego, California. It focuses on two plants on the North American Pacific coast: the 189 ML/day Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County, which opened in 2015; and a larger facility currently under construction south of the US-Mexico border at Rosarito Beach, Baja California, which is heralded as the first ever “binational” seawater desalination project. My core contention here is that desalination is emerging as an important technology in political and ideological shift towards the neoliberalisation of municipal water supply.

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Richard Eccleston and Ainsley Elbra

Economic liberalisation and the rise of MNCs in recent decades have been a double-edged sword. With the exception of the 2008 Financial Crisis and its aftermath, the rise of global capitalism has been a key driver of economic growth and technological innovation, but at the same time has undermined state sovereignty and exacerbated inequality (Mikler 2018). Nowhere has this dualism been more apparent than in the realm of corporate taxation, which has become a prime example of what Martin Wolf (2012) describes as a ‘contemporary tragedy of the global commons’. The ‘tragedy’ is such that MNC tax avoidance is now estimated to deny governments over a quarter of a trillion US dollars per year, and after years of ignoring the issue governments and firms are being forced to act (Clausing 2015; OECD 2015).

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Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

This book looks at democratic empowerment via institutional designs that extend the political rights of European citizens. It focuses on three themes: first, the positive and negative effects of the European Union institutional design on the political rights of its citizens; second, challenges for democratic regimes across the world in the 21st century in the context of regionalism and globalization; third, the constraints of neoliberalism and capitalist markets on the ability of citizens to effectively achieve their political rights within the Union.
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Suraya Scheba and Andreas Scheba

Desalination is being adopted in South Africa as an emergency ‘quick fix’ to drought crisis. Despite public opposition over potential social and ecological negative effects, small- and large-scale desalination plants are growing in numbers across the country. In this chapter we use a relational Marxist ontology and draw on the case of desalination adoption in the Knysna Local Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa, to argue that proponents’ representation of the drought as nature-induced, urgent and devoid of history created the political space for desalination technology to emerge as the best solution. Powerful actors used a range of communication and legal tools to discursively produce the drought–desalination assemblage, which resulted in the material manifestation of the technology. We then trace the historical materiality of the drought–desalination assemblage to counter the dominant narrative, providing instead an alternative explanation of how human and non-human actors produced the crisis materially.