Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Prizes

 

 

The Ken Young Best Paper Prize

The Bleddyn Davies Early Career Prize

2020

Selen Ercan, Carolyn M Hendriks and John S Dryzek

Public Deliberation in an Era of Communicative Plenty









Joram Feitsma

Brokering Behaviour Change: the Work Of Behavioural Insights Experts In Government

and

Toby Lowe, Jonathan Kimmitt, Rob Wilson, Mike Martin and Jane Gibbon

Institutional Work of Creating and Implementing Social Impact Bonds

2019

Christopher M. Weible and Paul Cairney

Practical Lessons from Policy Theories

Madeleine Pill and Valeria Guarneros-Meza

Local governance under austerity: hybrid organisations and hybrid officers

2018

Selen Ercan, Carolyn Hendriks and John Boswell

Studying public deliberation after the systemic turn: the crucial role for interpretive research

Rikki John Dean

Beyond radicalism and resignation: the competing logics for public participation in policy decisions

2017

Jo Ingold and Mark Monaghan

Evidence translation: an exploration of policy makers' use of evidence

Zachary Morris

Constructing the need for retrenchment: disability benefits in the United States and Great Britain

2016

Michael Howlett, Ishani Mukherjee and Jun Jie Woo

From tools to toolkits in policy design studies: the new design orientation towards policy formulation research

Owen Corrigan

Conditionality of legal status and immigrant occupational attainment in Western Europe

2015

Will Leggett

The politics of behavioural change: nudge, neo-liberalism and the state

Caroline Kuzemko

Politicising UK energy: what “speaking energy security” can do

2014

Mark Purcell

The right to the city: the struggle for democracy in the urban public realm

Katherine Smith

Institutional filters: the translation and re-circulation of ideas about health inequalities within policy

 

The 2020 Winners

 The Bleddyn Davies Early Career Prize has been awarded to:

Joram Feitsma for his article on Brokering Behaviour Change: the Work Of Behavioural Insights Experts In Government 

and 

Toby Lowe, Jonathan Kimmitt, Rob Wilson, Mike Martin and Jane Gibbon for their article on the Institutional Work of Creating and Implementing Social Impact Bonds.

In his outstanding paper, Joram Feitsma beautifully illustrates one of the main hallmarks of Policy & Politics in his forensic analysis foregrounding the politics of the behavioural insights movement. He describes how, in their efforts to professionalise, many contemporary governments have embraced the idea of evidence-based policy through behavioural insights. With the aim of making policies more behavioural science based, its frontstage role models tend to assume a straightforward, instrumental and apolitical view of the science-policy relationship that seems – and the author proves – to be unrealistic.

In the incisive analysis that follows, this award-winning article examines what goes on backstage in this behavioural insights movement, based on an ethnographic study of behaviour experts in Dutch central government. Feitsma concludes that the work comprises a complex palette of practices (eg choice architecture, analysis capacity building) which resembles typical knowledge brokerage work. The author closes by advocating the reframing of behaviour experts as ‘knowledge brokers’ in that they build networks, circulate knowledge, and translate abstract ideas into relevant tools. Much of their efforts go into persuading their peers of their added value, and authorising their institutional positions. Reframing their work in this way may help them to overcome typical knowledge broker-related barriers and challenges that they are likely to encounter. In the meantime, as the author so eloquently writes: “the paradox is elegant: while they convey a typically modernist message of scientisation and depoliticisation, getting this message across compels them to act profoundly politically”.

With its brilliant clarity of exposition, scientific analysis and clear and concise conclusions about the scholarly contribution the article makes to the field, this is a worthy winner of our Bleddyn Davies prize. 

In Toby Lowe, Jonathan Kimmitt, Rob Wilson, Mike Martin and Jane Gibbon’s illuminating article on social impact bonds, the authors offer one of the first detailed analyses of these relatively new policy tools, which are designed to link the outcomes of social interventions to payments and thus transferring the financial risk from governments to private investors. Drawing on the concepts of institutional work and discursive institutionalism, the authors investigate how the social impact bond featured in their case study influenced the rules, norms and decisions of key actors. Identifying two dominant discourses, the article demonstrates how these were found to be congruent at a macro policy level but evidenced tensions between them at meso and micro levels. Their findings show the interdependence of structure and agency in institutional work and the mediating role that discourse plays. Importantly, it also suggests that the effectiveness of social impact bonds depends not just on whether it achieves its outcome targets, but also for how those contracts work and potentially for the type of care received by their beneficiaries, if such tensions associated with the work of setting up a SIB are apparent in other SIB programmes.

The Ken Young Best Paper prize has been awarded to:

Selen Ercan, Carolyn M Hendriks and John S Dryzek for their article on Public Deliberation in an Era of Communicative Plenty.

In this superlative article, our second time winner of the best paper prize, Selen Ercan, with co-authors Carolyn M Hendriks and John S Dryzek, elucidate the implications of the increasing volume of communication for contemporary democracy. Drawing on recent systems thinking in deliberative democracy, they argue that ‘communicative plenty’ – ie the increasing volume of online and face-to-face communication – can offer a viable context for large-scale public deliberation, but only under two conditions. Those conditions are firstly, that the spaces for voice and expression are accompanied by sufficient spaces of reflection and listening. And secondly, that collective decisions involve sequencing of expression first, then listening and then reflection. The perceptive empirical analysis of their case reveals that designing spaces of reflection and listening is a practical means of enhancing public deliberation and democracy, particularly in contexts vulnerable to an overload of expression. This paper stands out as being the worthy winner of our annual best paper prize.

Criteria

The Ken Young best paper prize is awarded to the paper published in the previous year’s volume judged to represent excellence in the field. The winner’s paper will receive publicity and a period of free electronic access to their article to encourage use and citation.

  • the selected paper must have been published in the previous year’s volume
  • all papers, including research provocations, are eligible
  • individual authors and teams of authors are eligible
  • the nominations will be shortlisted and selected by the co-editors
  • metrics on downloads and citations are used as part of the selection
  • a short written summary statement is published on the rationale for the selection


The Bleddyn Davies early career prize is awarded to the best paper published in the previous year’s volume by an early career author. The winner’s paper will receive publicity and a period of free electronic access to their article to encourage use and citation.

  • the selected paper must have been published in the previous year’s volume
  • early career authors are those who completed their PhD no more than 4 years ago
  • individual authors and teams of authors are eligible
  • the nominations will be shortlisted and selected by the co-editors
  • metrics on downloads and citations are used as part of the selection
  • a short written summary statement is published on the rationale for the selection

 

About the Prizes

Thanks to the initiative of Bleddyn Davies and Ken Young in the early 1970s, we celebrated 40 years of the journal in 2012 and we are delighted to name two annual prizes after them in recognition of their innovative ideas and determination to put interdisciplinary analysis of and for policy firmly on the academic map in the UK and beyond.

The first issue of Policy & Politics, published by Macmillan, appeared in September 1972, with Bleddyn Davies (LSE) as founding editor and Ken Young (also at the LSE) as Associate Editor. Both had been heavily involved in the deliberations about the launch of a new journal which initially focused on local government "whilst drawing on a variety of disciplines and approaches". By September 1974 (Vol.3, No.1), publication had moved to Sage, its scope and coverage had been broadened in the sphere of public policymaking and Bleddyn and Ken became joint editors, both having moved to the University of Kent at Canterbury. The next change occurred with the January 1979 issue (Vol.7, No.1) as a result of the move by Ken to the University of Bristol, bringing the journal with him to be published by the then School for Advanced Urban Studies (SAUS). Bleddyn became a member of the Editorial Board and Ken was the Managing Editor of the journal until he handed on to Michael Hill in January 1980 (Vol.8, No,1). The journal continued to be published by SAUS until the School merged with the School of Applied Social Studies (SASS) in 1995 to form the School for Policy Studies, after which the newly created Bristol University based publisher, The Policy Press, took over the production of Policy & Politics.