The focus of this chapter is the challenge of investigating the intentions, commitments and perspectives of a particular group of street-level actors – professionals. Research often discounts intentions or assumes that actors’ intentions and commitments are easily read. These approaches, though, can miss expertise embodied in practice. The author argues that we need to augment current research approaches to engage with deeply embedded knowledge and commitments. Techniques from drama, it is suggested, have the potential to develop the repertoire of qualitative research to better engage with street-level practices and capture the complex and dynamic material needed to understand professional practices. The author draws on material from a research project involving drama practitioners to illustrate this argument, and explain how, through this project, collaborators identified and developed a research approach, drawing on techniques and ideas from interactive and immersive drama practice, which are sensitive tools to investigate expertise underpinning professional practices at street level.
Tony Heron and Peg Murray-Evans
In the twenty-first century, relations between the EU and Africa have been defined by intense diplomatic activity. In this chapter, we survey the focal point of this activity – the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – and highlight an unresolved tension between the economic dimension (reciprocity in matters of trade and investment) and the political dimension (institution building and the promotion of regional integration) of this process. We provide a background to contemporary EU-Africa trade relations before looking at the interregional dimension more specifically. We note the diverse array of different functional logics that have historically defined African regionalism, both prior to and in parallel with the EPAs. Accordingly, the influence of the EPA negotiations on these (partially if not wholly independent) processes of integration has been highly uneven and contradictory. We conclude by considering these effects with respect to each African ‘region’ and the longer-term implications for African governance and development.