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Edited by Colin Mason, Darja Reuschke, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham

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Raul P. Lejano and Sung Jin Park

Policy texts often mediate the intricate relationship between the crafting of a policy and its enactment. Such texts may serve as boundary objects that afford close interaction among policy actors. On the other hand, strongly textualist policy domains can rigidly disempower these same actors, leading to shallow, rather than deep, implementation. At their most extreme, autopoietic texts serve as vehicles for furthering ideological systems of thought. This approach affords a critical analysis of the hitherto unexamined effects of policy texts.

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Kathrin Braun

The chapter presents an overview over the main strands of frame analysis in the social sciences and policy studies, their respective understanding of frame, overall purpose, research objectives, methodological assumptions, and research practices. Whether frame operates as a critical concept depends on the larger theoretical framework in which it is embedded.

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Veronique Schutjens, Gerald Mollenhorst and Beate Volker

In the modern Western world, urban residential neighbourhoods have witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of small-scale businesses, and these businesses are there to stay. For many small entrepreneurs, the neighbourhood offers both a favourable business context and strong and sustainable anchors for economic activities. Entrepreneurs and their firms are affected by the socio-economic neighbourhood characteristics and by their relationships with other local firms, entrepreneurs and residents. A thorough examination of the interdependencies between local networks and the presence and success of local firms requires large-scale longitudinal data on networks of entrepreneurs. This chapter discusses the methods and measurements that enable such examinations. It uses unique data collected among 200 entrepreneurs in Dutch residential neighbourhoods. New findings are presented on changes in the amount of (local) social capital that is present in the networks of these entrepreneurs, measured by the positions or occupations to which entrepreneurs have access. The main findings are that neighbourhood contacts seem to broaden over time, and, in particular, home-based entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs running firms that serve local markets increase their access to local social capital. The chapter concludes that future research should focus on the explanations of the changes in the social networks of (neighbourhood) entrepreneurs and on the link between the types of network change and the location strategy and success of entrepreneurs and their firms.

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Heidrun åm

Heidrun åm argues in her essay that policy studies can learn much from Science and Technology Studies (STS). STS concepts like co-production can help to explicate the mutually reinforcing explanatory power of STS and Critical Policy Studies (CPS) more systematically. ‘Co-production’ in particular can be a necessary reminder for policy analysts of the role of matter in the midst of discourse. åm shows the value of applying a co-productionist perspective together with a poststructuralist policy analysis along a study of voluntary nanotechnology regulations. These were adopted in a context of uncertainty, when little evidence of risks in nanomaterials was available. While a strong demand to pre-empt public resistance might have been a driver for developing nanotechnology regulations, regulations’ particular form can only be explained by taking into account nanotechnology’s ambiguity. Thus, the technology itself was an important element in the co-production of existing nanotechnology regulations.

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Darja Reuschke, Colin Mason, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham

This introductory chapter discusses the rationale for connecting entrepreneurship with neighbourhoods and homes, presents the objectives and key questions of this volume and provides an overview of the book chapters. Major economic and societal changes that have led to an increase in micro businesses and non-farm self-employment are outlined and literatures and concepts in entrepreneurship research and urban and neighbourhood studies that are useful for understanding these changes discussed. The chapter highlights the home as entrepreneurial space and the household as unit of analysis for entrepreneurship studies. It argues that cities are places of small-scale businesses of all sorts, including home-based or mobile online businesses, that they accommodate a considerable self-employed workforce and that therefore scholars, policymakers and practitioners have to look beyond central business districts, high streets and designated business areas to detect and promote entrepreneurship in cities.

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Hemant R. Ojha, Mani R. Banjade and Krishna K. Shrestha

This chapter outlines a Critical Action Research (CAR) approach to enhance the interplay between research and social movement practices. The authors argue that such interplay is crucial to improve the quality of democratic policy process. Such interplay has the potential to address some of the concerns related to the continued lack of effective deliberation in the policy processes. Drawing on three cases from Nepal, India and Australia, the authors demonstrate that four aspects are crucial: (1) how critical researchers and social actors interact, (2) use of action as a basis of learning and a moral pursuit, (3) interactive learning (dialectical epistemology) and (4) multi-scalar engagement. They conclude that there is enormous scope for revitalizing democratic empowerment in the participatory policy process by strengthening the ways researchers interact with communities and policy actors, across scales, and by balancing epistemic and action objectives in the specific context of application.

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Vincent Dubois

Based on a comprehensive review of the various orientations of policy ethnography, this chapter illustrates four defining features of critical policy ethnography: challenging mainstream positivist approaches to public policy; confronting commonsense and official views on policy; setting individual experiences and micro-observations in the broader perspective of power and inequality structures; and unveiling social, economic, symbolic and political domination processes operating in and through policy processes.

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Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop

This chapter introduces cultural political economy as one among several approaches that explore the interconnected semiotic and structural aspects of social life. The CPE approach belongs in the camp of ‘grand theories’ that, inter alia, offers a preliminary set of basic and sensitizing concepts and positive guidelines that are relevant to historical description, hermeneutic interpretation, and causal explanation. It combines critical, historically sensitive, semiotic analyses with concepts from heterodox evolutionary and institutional political economy. It aims thereby to overcome the often compartmentalized analysis of semiosis/culture and structuration/institutions by integrating semiosis into political economy and applying evolutionary and institutional analyses to semiosis. This has important implications for understanding the limits of constructivist and structuralist analyses; lived experience and lesson-drawing; the relations among polity, politics and policy; and specific fields of public policy. Each of these themes is explored in appropriate detail. Finally, by combining specific concepts and analyses bearing on semiosis and structuration, CPE can also provide the basis for critiques of ideology and domination. This offers more solid foundations to understand ideology and ideological effects as well as forms of social domination and contributing thereby to critical policy studies.

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Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça and Selen A. Ercan

This chapter argues that deliberative democracy is not antithetical to conflicts and agonism generated by protests. In fact, protests are understood as an integral part of public deliberation, especially when the latter is understood in terms of a broad public conversation that occurs in multiple sites of communication. In order to develop this argument, the chapter discusses the deliberative dimension of recent demonstrations in Turkey and in Brazil, exploring (1) the way they were organized; (2) how they were carried out; and (3) their public consequences. In doing so, the chapter contributes to the field of policy studies by showing that there is much more to deliberative policy making than what happens in structured forums, and by arguing that a deliberative turn in politics will not lead to a tamed society that either avoids or suppresses its intrinsic conflicts.