Policy Press

Rethinking Policy and Politics

Reflections on Contemporary Debates in Policy Studies

Edited by Sarah Ayres


Jul 21, 2014

Page count

288 pages

Browse the series

New Perspectives in Policy and Politics




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Rethinking Policy and Politics

In recent years the nature of policy and politics has witnessed significant transformations. These have challenged perceptions about the ways in which policy is studied, designed, delivered and appraised. This book –the first in the New Perspectives in Policy and Politics series - brings together world-leading scholars to reflect on the implications of some of these developments for the field of policy studies and the world of practice.

First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, the book offers critical reflections on the recent history and future direction of policy studies. It advances the debate by rethinking the ways in which scholars and students of policy studies can (re)engage with pertinent issues in pursuit of both scholarly excellence and practical solutions to global policy problems.

"This volume attests to the benefits of constantly rethinking policy: Policy making is in a constant cycle of re-invention and innovation and this international constellation of authors bring their reflexive insights to bear on practical policy experience." Diane Stone, Professor of Governance, Sir Walter Murdoch School of Governance and International Affairs, Australia.

"These articles display the breadth, as well as the controversies, of current political analysis. The issues coming out of these articles are likely to shape the political discourse for the next several years." Jon Pierre, University of Gothenburg and University of Melbourne

Sarah Ayres is Senior Lecturer in Policy Studies at the University of Bristol. She is a political scientist with expertise in public administration and theories of policy making. Her research is concerned with devolution and decentralisation in an international context, with a particular emphasis on analysing inter-governmental relations between central and local actors. This work has explored the role of partnership working and network management in the governance of territory.


Forty years of public management reform in UK central government: promises, promises ~ Christopher Pollitt;

Political anthropology and civil service reform: prospects and limits ~ RAW Rhodes;

Just do it differently? Everyday making, Marxism and the struggle against neoliberalism ~ Jonathan Stephen Davies;

Performing new worlds? Policy, politics and creative labour in hard times ~ Janet Newman;

Weathering the perfect storm? Austerity and institutional resilience in local government ~ Vivien Lowndes;

Complex causality in improving underperforming schools: a complex adaptive systems approach ~ Martijn van der Steen, Mark van Twist, Menno Fenger and Sara Le Cointre;

Toward policy coordination: alternatives to hierarchy ~ B. Guy Peters;

Governing local partnerships: does external steering help local agencies address wicked problems? ~ Steve Martin and Valeria Guarneros-Meza;

All tools are informational now: how information and persuasion define the tools of government ~ Peter John;

The politics of engaged scholarship: impact, relevance and imagination ~ Matthew Flinders;

Reflections on contemporary debates in policy studies ~ Sarah Ayres and Alex Marsh.

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