Relational Approaches to Policy Analysis: Knowing, Intervening and Transforming in a Precarious World
Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on Theoretical Perspectives in Policy Analysis
The Interpretive Turn (Fischer and Forester, 1993; Wagenaar, 2011) has introduced hermeneutic and discursive methods in the analysis of public policy. Approaches such as narrative analysis, frame analysis, governmentality, Critical Discourse Analysis and poststructuralist political theory are increasingly common in the discipline and practice of policy studies. These foster a politically and socially relevant policy analysis that is both appreciative and critical of daily policy practice and the argumentative and discursive processes that constitute it.
Of these, a ‘second wave’ of interpretive approaches is distinctive in incorporating anti-dualist or relational elements. Examples are practice theory (Shove et. al, 2013; Nicolini, 2013; Schatzki et al., 2001; Cook and Wagenaar, 2012), process philosophy (Stout & Love, 2015), critical pragmatism (Forester, 2013; Healey, 2007; Griggs et al., 2014, Ansell, 2011), collaborative governance (Ansell and Gash, 2008; Innes and Booher, 2011), discursive institutionalism (Carstensen 2015), the strategic-relational approach (Jessop, 2005) and co-production and action research (Reason, 1988; Bartels & Wittmayer, 2014). At the same time, the relational element within this body of research has not been fully articulated. Drawing on ideas from the new relational sociology (Emirbayer 1997) would contribute to developing this dimension of policy research by contributing to a more fully-fledged relational policy analysis, with the potential to integrate interpretive, constructivist and other new institutionalist theories of policymaking.
Although seemingly disparate and originating in different philosophical traditions, these approaches share a number of ontological and epistemological principles that set them apart from first-generation interpretive policy analysis:
• Relational approaches attempt to overcome the traditional dualisms of social and political science (structure vs. agency, knowing vs. acting, human vs. material) by conceiving of the world in terms of ongoing events and dynamic processes generated by recursively related elements (e.g. while action is shaped by structure, structure is reproduced trough action).
• Ontologically our world is a world of becoming. It is open-ended, complex and unpredictable. Therefore, strong control is a misguided ideal; harnessing complexity is a more realistic prospect.
• Relational approaches emphasize the power dynamics inherent in all social exchanges.
• In terms of practical implications, in relational approaches knowledge is not aimed at finality and (intellectual or physical) control. Instead knowledge has the character of an encounter; between individuals or between individuals and the world. Knowledge is fundamentally bilateral, dialogical, and provisional (Wagenaar, 2011, ch. 8). It aims as much at shared understanding as at joint transformation.
• We know the world by acting on it. In the epistemology of anti-dualism knowledge is performative. Relational approaches do not play down the importance of language, but they emphasize the primacy of practice, and the way that practice mediates language and vice versa. Intervening, knowing, learning and transformation are inextricably linked in practice and inquiry.
• Experience is central in our dealings with the world. Experience is not an individual feeling, but instead a web of relations that ties individuals into the world. In relational approaches there is a fundamental awareness that we are inescapably woven into ecological and social webs.
• Materiality is central. Things, technologies the stuff the word is made of, are repositories of understandings, competences, meaning and traditions. They make our actions possible, and constrain and afford them, by structuring them but also by resisting our interventions.
• In their emphasis on joint acting, warranted assertability (exposure to recalcitrant experience), the fusion of practical and moral judgment, and the importance of open, deliberative forums, relational approaches bring out the ‘intelligence of democracy’ but also the limitations of contemporary liberal-electoral institutions.
Relational, non-dualist, approaches to policy analysis are important in addressing some of the most vexing issues of our age. A central feature of relational approaches to policy analysis is that they operate in close interaction with the everyday world of public policy and society. Cultivating such a politically and socially relevant policy analysis both involves revealing the often taken-for-granted, cognitive and practical horizons of social and policy issues and enabling and facilitating groups to free themselves from oppressive conditions or practices by jointly designing workable alternatives. This implies that the methodological and ethical imperatives of relational approaches are to engage in theoretically innovative and empirically grounded research that is both appreciative and critical of daily policy practice and the practical and discursive processes that constitute it. Relationality also aims to integrate an analysis of power relations within policy networks and fields.
Relational approaches to interpretive policy analysis are especially important in a world that is characterized by dynamic complexity, urgency and unpredictability. Problems such as climate change, migration, the erosion of democracy and the ascent of relatively successful non-democratic forms of governance, the rise of the giant transnational corporation, the difficulty of transnational governance, mass surveillance and the demise of privacy, the governance of pluralist and conflicted urban spaces, and massive private and national debt, are not only beyond the pale of traditional policy approaches and instruments but also do not allow much margin for error nor procrastination. While diagnoses of the antecedents of these issues abound, and many have been linked to the dominance of a neoliberal world order, we lack a framework that ties critical analyses to a clear and consistent conceptual vision that inspires practical transformations. We believe that relational approaches to policy analysis promise to take us in this direction.
However, while the use of these relational approaches is increasingly common in organization studies, international relations, development studies, cultural Marxism, urban studies, and planning, they have been less frequently used in policy analysis. In this section, we invite scholars to propose panels that are based on relational approaches to policy analysis and public administration. Such panels can be organized around applications and extensions of one of the relational approaches identified above, or they may have a more theoretical character in that they explore the theoretical landscape of non-dualism in policy analysis. The aim is to facilitate, widen and deepen understandings of the theoretical, empirical, and methodological ways in which relational approaches to policy analysis enable us to understand, intervene in, and transform our precarious world.
Panel 012: Approaches to relationality in public administration and their implications for policy analysis
Chair: Koen Bartels (Bangor University)
Discussant: Nick Turnbull (University of Manchester)
The concept of relationality is increasingly used in public administration. It provides a new analytical perspective which differs distinctly from existing individualist and holist approaches. Relational approaches have emerged in a range of disciplines as important for understanding the dynamics of social processes, particularly in the context of new modes of social interaction and new networked, institutional forms. In public administration, relational analyses are particularly suitable for explaining network governance and participatory governance by moving away from theories grounded in traditional institutional forms. They also offer the potential to add to existing interpretive theories by incorporating a strong place for power relations in political dynamics. However, there is a wide range of conceptions of relationality, which has been used in many different ways in political science. This panel will ask what relationality is and how researchers can adopt a relational approach in administrative analysis. Papers will canvass a variety of approaches to relationality and demonstrate how they have been employed in the study of public administration. Presenters will explain their own understanding of the concept of relationality and explain how it has been utilized as an analytical framework, from its theoretical bases to methodological applications. This may also include considerations of how relationality has been developed in other disciplines, such as economics, philosophy, and sociology. The panel has three primary aims: 1) to generate a discussion that moves towards establishing typologies of relational analysis, 2) to consider the implications of these relational approaches for policy analysis, and 3) reflect on what a relational perspective in public administration might look like and what it, itself, may have to offer to policy analysis in general.
1. Nick Turnbull (University of Manchester) & Koen Bartels (Bangor University) - A Relational Perspective for Public Administration
Relationality has been around for quite some time in a lot of work and literatures but for various reasons has not been defined or used in a really relational manner. So how would a relational perspective look like and what would it help us do in public administration? We will review conceptualizations, usages, and shortcomings of various analytical approaches, develop a relational perspective through practice theory based on the work of Bourdieu, Follett, and Turnbull, and provide several empirical illustrations and methodological recommendations to advance theory and empirical research. Our perspective focuses on relational enactment of power, relational dynamics of unifying differences, and practical argumentation as relational rhetoric. We argue this relational approach enables us to better understand social power and inequality in the new governance, account for socially situated individual practices, and practically enact more productive and democratic encounters.
2. Dragan Stanisevski (Mississippi State University) – Communal mutualism: Relationality from a polytopian perspective
Metaphorically akin to the spacetime grid in the physical world (Einstein, 1920), the social world also consists of networks of social relationships that are temporary embedded. Such processes of networking of mutual relationships are referred to in the paper as “communal mutualism,” borrowing a term from both evolutionary biology and continental European libertarian philosophy. The usual discussions of horizontal mutualist networks (Proudhon, 1840, 1863; Graeber, 2011), alternatives to traditional hierarchical structures, however, generally presume a large degree of mutual trust within localities, which in turn requires certain familiarity and stability of relationships. To account for this possibly static tendency in mutualist theories, the paper suggests augmenting traditional mutualist approaches with a consideration of polytopian philosophy (Stanisevski, 2015), an amalgamation termed in the paper as “polytopian relationality,” that conceives of communal mutualism as a temporal process of mutual co-creation inclusive of diverse potentialities in the social spacetime. This emphasis on the temporality of mutual co-creation of social networks methodologically directs the policy analysis to considerations not of static “positions,” but of dynamic “events” that are constantly in processes of interactive transmutations, which dynamism is accelerated in more heterogeneous constellations of social relationships.
3. Matías Gabriel Durán Quintanar (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) - The microphysics of power as a relational approach to study power relations and change in housing governance networks at Catalonia
Social movements like the Affected by Mortgages Platform (PAH), a Spanish social organization against evictions, have favoured the rise of forces since the early years of the 2008 crisis that are changing the housing policy at Catalonia and its governance network in order to solve the problem of families in housing emergency. However these changes do not have an endogenous nature as the literature of governance network suppose. By contrast, the changes have been induced by new exogenous forces exercised by ‘outsider’ actors (Smith, 1993) motivated by the inability of the network to solve the housing problem.
However, the concept of networks has normative and empirical limits to explain change (Bevir & Rhodes, 2007; Rhodes, 2007). Network analysis tends to emphasize the stability and structure of interactions but leaves out the adjustments resulting from deliberation (Thoenig, 1999 in Cabrero, 2005). Therefore some academics are suggesting a Decentred Analysis that focuses on the relational dynamic that participants of a network have in order to explain how the practices of network governance change (Rhodes, 2007, p. 1252). This approach means that so as to understand networks change, we need first to study the relational dynamics as political processes (Robins, Bates, & Pattison, 2011): a kind of games where actors constantly make and remake processes and structures (Klijn & Teisman, 1997) in a strategic way that creates action meaning (Cohen, March, & Olsen, 2011; DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Scott, 2008; Sørensen & Torfing, 2008).
So if networks change has to do with multiple relational links between actors, the scenario highlights the natural conflict of our modern societies and therefore supports to focus on power (Flyvbjerg, 1998) and on relation of forces (Deleuze, 2014; Lemke, 2002) that unfolds in the day-by-day politics between participants (Arellano, 2010). Like Rhodes and Marsh have said “To pursue micro-level analysis in order to explore personal networks will provide a wealth of detail” (Marsh & Rhodes, 1992, p. 22).
The microphysics of power is a useful view to explore the relational level of governance networks and to grasp the dynamics of change as mutations of power diagrams (Foucault, 1999, 2009). So in order to discover the driving forces of changes the focus is on powers of resistance: “…only engaging (them) it can be understand the mutation of a diagram. That is why a diagram changed in favor of a new distribution of power relations” (Deleuze, 2014, p. 402). Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM) guides the analysis (Corbin & Strauss, 2008; Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and specifically follows Charmaz constructivist strategy (Bryant & Charmaz, 2007; Charmaz, 2006).
Taking this line to study change on governance networks could contribute to the ‘micro-relational’ approach when showing the influence that relations of force of an ‘outsider’ social group like the Affected by Mortgages Platform (PAH) might have on the governance network around housing at Catalonia and on it participants.
4. Allinnettes Adigue (Australian National University) - Understanding privatised public infrastructure services through network analysis
Privatisation was one of the market-oriented policy reform strategies developed and implemented in the Western world in the late 1970s to increase productivity and reduce costs of production at the enterprise level. By the late 1980s, privatisation of public services, particularly water and sanitation utilities, reached the developing world with high expectations riding on its coattails, i.e., to stimulate economic growth, alleviate poverty, and ease the macroeconomic burden brought about by inefficient public enterprises. After the initial exuberance, a number of high-profile cancellations and renegotiations hounded water privatisation.
Water management problems are complex because they arise when natural, societal and political processes and variables interact that cross multiple boundaries and scales, with numerous stakeholders competing for a limited and common resource (Islam & Susskind, 2013). Privatisation has created a network of public, private and non-government actors who work together to deliver public infrastructure services. Similar complexities abound in the wastewater services sector but there is a dearth of research on how a complex structure impacts on outcomes in privatised water and wastewater services in developing countries. This paper critically reviews the role of network collaboration on service delivery outcomes in privatised sewerage services in Metro Manila by using a multi-causal and multi-level approach in assessing outcomes.
By mapping out the network of actors involved in the sewerage sector, analysing the process structures that govern the sector and the dynamics of inter-organisational relationships, this paper aims to provide a holistic and detailed analysis of privatisation outcomes and develop a framework to analyse networked sectors to aid practitioners in dealing with the complexity of networked services.
Panel 030 - Case Studies in Relational Governance
Chair: Nick Turnbull (University of Manchester)
Discussant: Koen Bartels (Bangor University)
This panel presents a number of detailed case studies that employ relational approaches to governance. The cases that range from identity politics in Japan, collaborative planning in the Netherlands, the implementation of planning proposals, and international relations.
1. Michal Kolmas (Metropolitan University Prague) - Identity entrepreneurship and policy change in Japan
Current national identity research in international relations is divided into ‘liberal constructivists’, understanding identity as a shared norm, and post-structuralists, seeing identity as a product of distinguishing from ‘others’. When confronted with modern Japan, these two are insufficient. The ‘liberal’ approach fails to acknowledge the ideational factors influencing the identity reformulation; ‘relational’ approach fails to define why the nascent identity change is such severely constrained and why some identities stick more than others. An ecclectical, reflexive approach combining these two provides a better understanding. While ‘relational’ approach rightly explains how Japan has discursively defined itself as a ‘pacifist’, ‘rational’, ‘democratic’ (vis-à-vis USA, China etc.), ‘liberal’ approach is better at illustrating, how some of these identities (i.e. pacifism) sedimented into a form of a shared norm and how they subsequently exercised constraints over further discursive identity change propagated by the ‘relational’ approach (‘othering’ advocates constant change). These constraints can be found on two levels: identity entrepreneurs and emotions. In the last three decades, entrepreneurs (article focuses on Koizumi and Abe administrations) have been severely constrained by pacifist groups in politics and bureaucracy (eg Sokka Gakkai, MoFA). Furthermore, the shared 'pacifist' identity played a strong role in containing the entrepreneurs from advocating popular emotional change. That is why - by coming back to emprical reality - this paper argues that the much-heralded 'new revisionist Japan' is an inflated concept.
2. Lieselot Vandenbussche (Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam) - Pathways of stakeholders' relations in collaborative planning practices. A case study
It is widely acknowledged that stakeholders’ relations are critical in collaborative planning practices (Booher, 2004; Forester, 1999). Stakeholders’ relations are said to be ‘the medium for collaborative work’ (Foster-Fishman et al., 2001: 251): it is through these relationships that consensus and mutual learning can occur. Hence, scholars repeatedly emphasize the essential role of relationship building in collaborative endeavours (Boelens, 2010; Innes and Booher, 2003; 2004; 2015; Healey, 1997). Planning is approached as an interactive and relational endeavour, involving ‘social processes through which ways of thinkings, ways of valuing and ways of acting are actively constructed by participants’ (Healey, 1997: 29). However, although collaborative planning scholars do attend to relating dynamics in collaborative planning (e.g. Forester, 1999; Healey, 1997; Healey et al., 2003), analytical tools to systematically study stakeholders’ relating dynamics in collaborative planning processes are underdeveloped in this field of literature.
In this paper, we present and apply an analytical framework that intends to capture and explain (here to be understood as a ‘puzzling-out process’, see Schwartz-Shea and Yanow, 2012: 27) stakeholders’ relating dynamics, i.e. the relational pathway (see Vandenbussche et al., 2015). The framework takes a dynamic perspective on stakeholders’ relations – based upon the relational dialectics approach towards relating (see Baxter and Montgomery, 1996; see also Baxter, 2004a; 2011). This approach has been developed and applied within communication theory and social psychology (Baxter and Montgomery, 1996; Baxter 2004, 2011). Relational dialectics’ main argument is that relations are continuously in flux and thus acknowledges change as a central aspect of relating. Relations are seen as ‘dialogic’: as naturally revolving around the dynamic interplay between contradictory, competing values or ‘dialectical tensions’ (Baxter and Montgomery, 1996; see also Baxter, 2004a; 2011; Seo and Creed, 2002). This implies that rather than focusing on how relations should be, and which conditions are desirable – a focus typical for collaborative planning literature - the framework places focus on how and why relations evolve and change over time. As such, it recognizes the evolutionary and dynamic character of collaboration (Gray, 1989). The framework offers conceptual tools for systematic and detailed analyses of relational pathways in collaborative planning practices.
We then apply this analytical framework to a ‘real-life’ collaboratively approached urban planning project in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Our case study focuses on the collaborative process concerning the comprehensive redevelopment and transformation of the old deteriorated harbour zone of Katendrecht into an attractive residential area. Our study is based on data collected through in-depth narrative interviews with about 25 stakeholders, both stakeholders that are currently involved in the project as stakeholders that were in the past. We further conducted ethnographic fieldwork: we observed the main collaborative meetings organised between 2013-2015. We analysed the collected data using the framework presented in the paper. Based on the framework, we present and reconstruct the relational pathway characterizing the collaborative process concerning the redevelopment of Katendrecht. We discuss our findings and particularly pay attention to discussing and explaining the changes that occurred in stakeholders’ relations.
3. Mari Kågström & Sylvia Dovlén (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) - Relational Elements and Framing Processes in Implementation of New Policy Issues in Planning Practice
Today´s society is continuously exposed to demands for flexibility and change for meeting current and future challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and increasing numbers of refugees. Crucial environmental and social issues, perspectives and problems often imply introduction of new policies, reformulation of policies, or proposition of new policy measures. Those policy formulations and measures are expected to be transformed into practical results within different societal contexts. This implementation is often expected to occur in a relatively uncomplicated way. However in real life practice the introduction of new policy issues seems to be a much more delicate task often loaded with uncertainty and conflicts.
In planning, new policy issues are often introduced top-down with expectation to be implemented bottom-up. In this implementation policy actors involved in the process interpret the policy and give it meaning within their policy context. Consequently the actors translate and adapt the policy into their specific situation through framing processes. In this paper it is argued that policy communities and individual actors framing of policy issues and their own responsibilities in respect of it is a crucial phase in the implementation process and for the planning outcome.
The paper is based on two recent Swedish studies, which have deeply engaged with theory development and application focusing on everyday planning practice, the challenges and opportunities that emerge when new policy issues are introduced. The first study investigates the implementation process of the European Landscape Convention (ELC) applying a relational approach. Relevant policy communities at different policy levels (national, regional and local) are identified along their use of framing concepts in developing strategies for implementation actions. The second study investigates actors’ possibilities, or space for action, for influencing integration of new policy issues in environmental assessment (EA). The study emphasizes individual actors’ framing processes and interactions between actors as well as frames well established in practice. Both studies build on earlier work by planning theorists and circular around elements from frame theory.
In the paper we will draw on common experiences of relational elements that shed light on policy communities’ and individual actors’ framing processes and interactions. The restrictions and openings for interaction between individual actors and policy communities (at different policy levels) and their possibilities for influencing the implementation will be used to mirror the dynamic process of implementing and making meaning (framing) of new policies in the context of everyday planning practice. This approach contributes to the ‘interpretative turn’ in policy analysis.
4. Trong Giang Do (University of Leuven) - Relational Multilateralism: An Analysis of ASEAN's multilateralism and its implications for the EU's interregional policy
Notwithstanding an increasing number of studies on multilateralism since the Cold War, many of them seem to rely on the rules-based multilateralism model. Through this lens, non-Western multilateralism is particularly seen as showing weaker institutionalization, imperfect mimicry of the EU’s model, or an ineffective regional governance.
However, this paper starts from the rules-based versus relational multilateralism dichotomy, as captured respectively by the concepts of legalization by Kenneth W. Abbott et al. (2000) and relational governance by Qin (2009, 2011). On the one hand, in the mainstream view of both realists and institutionalists, multilateralism is usually described in a highly institutionalized form governed principally by rules, reflected in the high degree of obligation, precision and delegation. On the other, informed by social constructivism (i.e. processual constructivism), several multilateral frameworks consider the governing of harmonized relationships based on relational norms, e.g., mutual respect and commitment as, the core principle of relational governance.
This paper will question the prevalence of the rules-based model by examining the significance of the relational multilateralism: How does the latter promote cooperation and strengthen order in international relations? It elucidates this matter by contending that relational multilateralism could prefer acculturation – a distinct socialization mechanism which embodies processes of cognitive dissonance and social pressures – to coercion and persuasion. By engaging such practices of acculturation as communicating best practices and employing group pressure through relationship, relational multilateralism has made some meaningful evolutions in regional governance.
The paper uses process-tracing to present a within-case analysis of ASEAN – to a large extent, a relational multilateralism – to examine ASEAN’s multilateralism features (in terms of (1) legal and normative framework, (2) decision making process, (3) mechanisms of implementation and dispute settlement), socialization mechanisms, and outcomes. The paper focuses on the policy fields of environmental protection (ASEAN Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution and Indonesia’s ratification and implementation) and human rights promotion (ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and Myanmar’s democratic transition), with the data obtained since the incipient ASEAN 2007 Charter.
The findings of the case would have implications for questioning and refining the EU’s current interregional policy towards Asia which is much dominated by the use of political conditionality and transposition of its internal rules without apprehending the others.
Abbott, K. W., Keohane, R. O., Moravcsik, A., Slaughter, A.-M., & Snidal, D. (2000). The concept of legalization. International Organization, 54(3), 401-419.
Qin, Y. (2009). Relationality and processual construction: Bringing Chinese ideas into international relations theory. Social Sciences in China, XXX(3), 5-20.
Qin, Y. (2011). Rule, Rules, and Relations: Towards a Synthetic Approach to Governance. The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 4(2), 28. doi:10.1093/cjip/por008
Panel 076: Critical and Relational Action Research: The Ambitions and Challenges of Collaboratively Addressing Policy Issues
Chair: Koen Bartels (Bangor University)
Action research is proving an increasingly popular approach in policy analysis. By action research we refer to a wide variety of approaches involving participatory processes of collaborating with (policy) actors to produce scientifically and socially relevant knowledge and transformative action. While relatively neglected for a long time, a rich and engaging conversation has emerged over the past years about what action research has to offer.
Sharing our experiences in a wide variety of backgrounds revealed the value and difficulties of integrating its transformative ambitions and practices. We found that doing so requires critical and relational approaches. On the one hand, action research aims to be critical of what is there by transforming habits, discourses and power inequalities engrained in hegemonic systems. On the other hand, action researchers are required to be relational by maintaining trust, share goals, be committed, as well as pragmatically accept the constraints of the situation at hand and what is practically possible.
We therefore welcome reflections on experiences with various action research (and related) approaches from a variety of backgrounds that will improve our understanding of how critical and relational approaches (and the associated practices, roles, relationships, and theories) can be used to transform policy issues. Specifically, invite contributors to explore questions about the goals, contexts and impacts of action research:
• When is it a suitable approach and why?
• For whom and what is it and how is this reflected in its practices and ambitions?
• Whom are we engaging with and how are desired changes established?
• How can we combine a critical approach with practical impacts towards structural change?
The wider aim of the panel is to gather potentially interested contributors to an edited volume about action research in policy analysis that compares approaches and evaluates goals, contexts and impacts.
1. Koen Bartels & Julia Wittmayer - Critical and Relational Action Research: Sharing Experiences for a Sustainable Future
We currently face political, social, economic, and environmental crises that beg urgent action, yet are surrounded by deep knowledge uncertainty. Moreover, they highlight fundamental and relational interdependencies and expose the bankruptcy of hegemonic systems. Climate change, unstable financial and economic systems and extremist populism, to name but a few, reveal both the ecologic tragedies and cracks of modern democratic capitalism. In this paper we argue that, to address these crises, a type of knowledge and research is needed that is not only actionable, but also recognizes, works with, and strengthens interdependencies while at the same time critically and constructively transforming hegemonic systems.
Action research fits this picture neatly. In the fields of policy analysis and transition studies, action research is increasingly adopted to combine a practical and normative analytical orientation to knowledge development with transformative ambitions. However, action research is still marginalized by mainstream scholarship, its academic and practical value is hotly debated, and it comprises a number of inherent tensions and challenges. The latter include instrumentalization by power holders, identity costs for all participants, and questions concerning evaluation. Fundamentally, action research involves dealing with the double challenge of negotiating the focus, methods, findings, and implications of the research as well as the meaning of ‘knowledge’ and ‘research’.
In this paper, we propose that dealing with these tensions and challenges in research while developing effective and workable responses to the current crises, requires critical and relational approaches. Being critical means increasing awareness of and pushing for transformation of habits, discourses and power inequalities engrained in hegemonic systems. Being relational implies maintaining trust, shared goals, and commitment as well as pragmatically accepting things for what they are and what is practically possible. We argue that enacting critical and relational practices in concrete action research settings is a vital way for working out how the inherent tensions of this method can be handled and the current crises addressed.
2. Claire Bynner (University of Glasgow) & James Henderson (University of Edinburgh) - Establishing the potential for relational and critical action research within the context of Scottish public service reform
The What Works Scotland (WWS) research programme aims to inform development and generate critical dialogue on current Scottish Government public service reform, across macro, meso and micro dimensions of policy and practice. Central to this endeavour is a cross-disciplinary, collaborative action research methodology being applied to work with Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs); partnerships set up by local authorities, as mandated by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003, and involving multiple sectors and organisations in strategic governance and public engagement.
The Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services (2011) or ‘Christie Commission’ provides a new reform narrative in Scotland, one that promotes collaborative approaches to local partnership-working and the prevention of inequality and promotion of equality. It positions such reform within the context of sustained inequalities, an ‘ageing’ population and severe UK and Scottish Government public spending cuts; the latter driving an emphasis on performance improvement, cost efficiency and community participation.
WWS is generating an eclectic, pragmatic collaborative research methodology of relevance to the Christie Commission principles. It draws on diverse action research practices concerned with transforming organisations, services and systems and often committed to emancipatory approaches and critical thinking (Reason & Bradbury, 2006; Heron & Reason, 2006; Kindon, Pain & Kesby, 2007; Denis & Lehoux, 2009; Bartels & Wittmayer, 2014). More particularly, it draws from the experiences of educational action researchers concerned to promote service transformation (Chapman & Hadfield, 2010: Chapman et. al, 2015). WWS seeks then to pursue both relational and critical approaches across different ‘orders’ of inquiry and change (Bradbury & Reason, 2006; Chapman & Hadfield, 2010; Coghlan & Brydon-Miller, 2014).
Four Scottish CPPs are our partners in this evolving approach and provide a diversity of contexts: urban and rural; and varying concentrations of inequality and uneven development. Each is generating a mix of research activity – in terms of methods and scale – and this includes: community-led approaches; evaluation and learning; participatory budgeting; welfare; education; data use; health and social care integration; and CPP strategy development. Community planning officers – playing strategic and operational roles – are being joined by other staff and professions from across public and third sectors to undertake these inquiries. They will examine policy and practice across different levels of delivery and reform, identifying areas of potential improvement and providing space for learning and critical dialogue.
In this paper we will discuss common dilemmas in establishing collaborative action research. These include gaining management support, locating project ‘champions’, building understanding of action research, and gauging capacity, commitment and relevance. It will argue that relational approaches across such complex local and central partnerships must be mutually-constructed over time if service transformation is to be pursued. Whilst national policy-making generates particular urgency, constraints, and financial challenges which impact at all levels, the current Scottish policy emphasis on collaborative partnership-working can provide space for critical dialogue, and hence opportunities to explore both the relational and the emancipatory within action research.
3. Ainhoa Arrona (Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness / Fundación Deusto) - A 'practice based, deliberative and actionable' approach for understanding and fostering innovation policy governance
The recognition of the systemic nature of innovation (Laranja, 2012; Edler et al., 2002, Arnold and Boekholt, 2003) and the complexity of both the policy world in general and the innovation policy field in particular (Borras, 2008; Flanagan et al., 2011, Magro et al., 2014; OECD, 2005a) have led to a consensus about the need to adopt systemic approaches and more horizontal modes of governance in innovation policy (Arnold and Boekholt, 2003; Laranja, 2012). In this context, policy learning is considered as a key factor for improving policymaking (Nawelaers and Wintjes, 2002; Koschatzky and Kroll, 2007) for regional development (Bernz and Furst, 2002; Aranguren and Larrea, 2011; Borras, 2011) and for the governance required for third generation innovation policies (Borras 2008, OECD, 2005a). However, a dominant rational view seems to prevail within the innovation literature both in the analysis of policy learning - which is mainly approached from an instrumental (Gilardi and Radaelli, 2012; Kemp and Weehuizen, 2005) view - and in the understanding of the policy process. As argued by Flanagan et al. (2011), there is a contradiction since innovation is seen as a non-linear and dynamic phenomenon, but this same literature implicitly draws linear policy processes. In such a view, policy makers are seen as mere depositaries of knowledge generated by the academia, overlooking differences in policy rationales and research rationales on the belief that ideas from theory are introduced in an unproblematic way into the policy process. It is precisely the disconnection between the practical rationality of practitioners and the theoretical rationality of traditional research what according to Hager and Wagenaar (2003) constitutes one of the reasons for the ineffectiveness of policy sciences. In this respect, we believe that other research perspectives could offer new insights to theory and foster new governance modes within the innovation policy field. Following Wagenaar (2011), we will argue for a 'dialogical interpretive approach' for policy analysis to contribute to the connection of academic knowledge and policy practice and for better understanding and acting upon the complexities within this particular policy field. Specifically, being based on Karlsen and Larrea's (2014, 2015) proposal of the role of the action researcher as a facilitator of policy learning, on a relational view of learning (Loeber et al. 2007), and on the insights from a 6-year action research project with a regional government, we reinterpret Territorial Development and Action Research (Karlsen and Larrea, 2014) as an explicit interpretive policy analysis approach for collaborative governance (Ansell, 2008). Territorial Development and Action Research is an specific Action Research approach developed within the innovation field which, in our view, can foster social learning that could enable changes in practices and patterns of governance (Bevir, 2011; Rhodes, 2012) for contributing to fostering systemic approaches for third generation innovation policies.
Panel 101: Doing Politics
Chair: Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield)
In December 2014 Richard Freeman gave his inaugural lecture at the University of Edinburgh, titled Doing Politics. In this remarkable lecture he explores the scope of application for practice- and related theories in politics. The purpose is both ontological and epistemological: what are the constitutive practices of policy and politics, and what does practice theory help us to see, understand, interpret, criticize and explain? In this panel –conducted in an ‘author meets critics’ format – several scholars will comment on and discuss Freeman’s ideas. They will draw on their own experiences as practitioners of politics, public administration and policy analysis. They will focus on particular instances or aspects of 'political work' (such as action, administration, representation; meeting, talk and text; artefacts, bodies and spaces).
1. Richard Freeman (University of Edinburgh) - Doing Politics
How does politics happen? When we do politics, what are we doing? In this lecture, I want to show how we might understand politics as action, as 'a mode of doing'. Drawing on the sociology of interaction, I develop the concept of work and its associated ideas of trajectory and transformation as they might apply to politics. I explore the political worlds of protest and direct action, of organization and administration and of representation in turn. I describe and discuss the core activities of meeting, talking and writing, as well as the tools and technologies with which political work gets done and the spaces in which it happens. I conclude by noting some of the implications and complications of thinking about politics in this way.
1. Martien Kuitenbrouwer, (University of Amsterdam, and former borough mayor of Amsterdam-West)
2. Reinhard Kreissl (Director of VICESSE, Vienna)
3. Jan-Peter Voß (Technische Universität Berlin)
4. Roy Heidelberg (Louisiana State University)
Panel 307: Policy Practice and Policy Analysis I
Chair: Richard Freeman (University of Edinburgh)
Discussant: Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield)
The purpose of this panel is to explore and articulate the role of the practice approach in policy analysis. The practice approach can be said to rest on three premises. The first is the primacy of interventionism. This is the insight that reality – the environment that we live and move about in and that rubs and brushes against us from all sides, and that we overwhelmingly experience as ‘out there’, largely independent from ourselves - is a product of our ongoing practical engagement with the world (Dewey, 2008 (1925), Hildebrand, 2003; Cook and Wagenaar, 2012; Law, 2009). The second premise concerns temporal emergence. This is the insight that the constraints and affordances of the outer world only come to us through our experience of them in emergent time. The third premise regards the interpenetration of the human and the material in the way we act on, and understand, the world (Pickering 1995; Law 2004; Pickering and Guzick 2008). While persuasive accounts of practice in science studies (Pickering, 1995), organizational studies (Nicolini, 2012) and everyday life (Shove, Pantzar & Watson, 2012) are available, applications of the practice approach in policy analysis are less common (Wagenaar and Cook, 2003; Colebatch, 2005; Wagenaar and Wilkinson, 2014; Shove, 2010; Freeman, 2015). In particular the question ‘What does a practice approach contribute to policy analysis?” that for example discourse analysis, interpretive political science, or critical qualitative research do not (Wagenaar, 2011), has not been convincingly answered so far. We invite contributions that either demonstrate empirical applications of the practice approach to the analysis of public policy, or conceptualizations of the core question of this panel.
1. Monika De Frantz (European University Institute) - Claiming the City: from public space to public politics - interpretative politics analysis in the urban context.
The notion of the city is closely associated with an ideal space of democracy. The historic ideal of the Greek Polis still underlies societal knowledge - as a model of justice and democracy in urban studies (Le Gales 2002; Sennett 1992), of cosmopolitan or radical democracy in political science (Held 1991; Zizek 2006). The contemporary crisis of democracy and territorial national states shifts the focus of critical studies to the role of the city as a public space in a changing historical context of statehood and citizenship. The urban public sphere implies the democratic functions of a place of personal social interactions, of a stage of government politics, and - increasingly - a local arena of transnational politics and symbol of postnational legitimacies. These various functional dimensions are the focus of different normative theories and give rise to different practical challenges, claims for justice and political processes in specific urban contexts.
Researching the institutional transformations of the public sphere, interpretative politics analysis stresses normative agency as public performance and deliberation of legitimacy in complex network governance (Hajer 2009; Fischer 2009). Beyond advice to top-down policies, particularly, the planning discipline has turned to collaborative practices that involve negotiating, translating and performing diverse legitimacies (Forester, 2013; Healey & Booher 2011, Healey, 2007). As cultural norms and communicative practices gain importance in transnational governance as well as local planning, urban development turns from a political economic function into diverse and plural social-political processes.
By defining the political field and intervening in collective societal learning, the active role of experts contributes to transform actors, issues and institutional structures of urban politics. Whereas critical urban studies tend to focus on neoliberalism as a dominant legitimacy structure, conceptualizing urban politics as an open-ended institutional process implies interpretative agency and diversity and thus potential political choices for alternative collective legitimacies. This paper enquires how normative and relational approaches in urban studies contribute to embed interpretative politics analysis in urban contexts as concrete social relations, specific local experience and material spaces of globalisation. In return, the relational perspective of interpretative politics analysis contributes to a more open-ended conception of urban politics that turns the neoliberal paradigm of critical urban studies into an research question about shared legitimacies with diverse analytical outcomes of institutional changes to statehood and citizenship.
2. Simin Davoudi (Newcastle University) – Planning as Practice of Knowing
It is often suggested that a defining feature of planning is its interventionist nature which requires connecting knowledge to action. With the upsurge of evidence-based planning, much is rehearsed about the utilitarian necessity of making such connection. What is less widely discussed is the epistemological nuances and challenges of knowledge–action relationship. This essay aims to contribute to the latter by conceptualising planning as practice of knowing. This is to shift the focus from knowledge as something that planners have to knowing as something that planners do. I would argue that, rather than thinking about knowledge as having an instrumental place in planning, it is more useful to think about planning as practice of knowing that involves knowing what, knowing how, knowing to what end and doing. Seen in this way, practice of knowing is a dynamic process that is situated and provisional, collective and distributed, purposive and pragmatic, and mediated and contested.
3. Ray Ison (The Open University) - Relational policy design and enactment: exploring intersections with cybersystemic praxis traditions
The framing for this theme refers to “Knowing, Intervening and Transforming in a Precarious World”; containing, as it does, three verbs, this framing I will argue is concerned with praxis, or theory informed practical action. Drawing on developments within interpretive, constructivist, action-research oriented turns within cybernetics and systems scholarship (hereafter cybersystemics) I wish to explore why these three verbs only make sense in relational terms. The heuristic question ‘what is it that we do when we do what we do?’ (Ison 2010) is used as a means to further this exploration. My exploration is built on the premise that the aim of this theme “is to facilitate, widen and deepen understandings of the theoretical, empirical, and methodological ways in which relational approaches to policy analysis enable us to understand, intervene in, and transform our precarious world”.
Figure 1. A heuristic model of some of the different influences that have shaped contemporary cybernetics and systems (cybersystemic) approaches and the lineages from which they have emerged. This Figure is best read from right to left in the first instance. Down the right-hand side are a set of contemporary systems approaches which are written about, put into practice and sometimes taught. Some names of people (practitioners) are added who are particularly associated with approaches. The approaches are also organised from top to bottom in terms of what can be perceived to be common commitments, or tendencies, of a majority of practitioners within the given approaches to seeing systems as entities (ontologies) or heuristic devices (epistemologies) (Source: Ison and Schlindwein 2015).[
Using Figure 1 as a springboard I will explore how different praxes, arising from certain cybersystemic traditions, might contribute to the aims of this theme and illuminate how in future ‘relational approaches’ might come to be understood and enacted. Research over the last 20 years in cybersystemic praxeology, including systemic governance, or governing (Ison et al 2015), will be used to illustrate and offer conceptual and praxis connections with policy analysis, design and enactment. In addition experiences and insights deriving from 40+ years of designing supported open-leaning experiences for mature students of Systems will illustrate my arguments (Ison and Blackmore 2014).
Ison, R.L. (2010) Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate-Change World. Springer, London and The Open University.
Ison, R.L. & Schlindwein, S. (2015) Navigating through an ‘ecological desert and a sociological hell’: a cyber-systemic governance approach for the Anthropocene, Kybernetes, 44 (6/7), 891 - 902.
Ison, R.L. & Blackmore, C. (2014) Designing and developing a reflexive learning system for managing systemic change. Systems Education for a Sustainable Planet Special Issue, Systems, 2(2), 119-136 (doi:10.3390/systems2020119 ).
Ison, R.L., Collins, K.B. & Wallis, P. (2014) Institutionalising social learning: Towards systemic and adaptive governance, Environmental Science & Policy 53 (B), 105–117.
4. Jesse Hoffman (University of Amsterdam) - Context making in energy transitions: analyzing governance in fragmented spaces
Current energy transitions witness the emergence of myriad coalitions of societal actors that experiment with novel energy innovations. Where classical state institutions experience difficulties in addressing sustainability problems, such coalitions form a promising basis for a governance of transformative change. Yet, these coalitions of firms, citizens, scientists, designers, and others come with their own perils and politics: their temporary, impromptus and ‘in-between’ character eludes formal regulation. Moreover, as they span boundaries between disparate regimes they are bound to run into the resistances of dominant discourses and the inertia of existing (infra)structures. This paper explores how the dynamics in these coalitions help to understand the politics of energy transitions and the governance of transformation in general. Drawing on the findings in my PhD research, it develops a conceptual framework for the creative work of actors in such networks and discusses its insights into a governance perspective on (energy) transitions beyond the classical political arena’s of the state.
In order to do so, this paper is set up as follows. First, it will develop a heuristic framework for analyzing the creativity in social practices through which such coalitions emerge, and through which they come to transform their environment. Theoretically, I will draw on practices theories (Bourdieu 1996; Joas 1996; Shove et. al. 2013) and recent discussions in the power literature on synergies between theories of domination and empowerment (Haugaard 2012; Clegg 2012). Empirically, I will draw on my research in a longitudinal case study of wind energy development in Denmark, and two ethnographic studies of recycling in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and greenhouse innovation in the Dutch agriculture (Hoffman 2013; Hoffman and Loeber 2015).
Secondly, this paper will discuss the contributions of the relational framework thus developed to the study of the governance of structural change. In this discussion I will argue that that the framework helps to grasp how specific innovative practices become interpretive vehicles for structural change as actors involved recognize, renegotiate, and reach out to opportunities resident in existing structures. In doing so, it offers a refined reading of the creative tinkering of actors in practices, which might be used for future research into new governance practices.
5. Roy Heidelberg (Louisiana State University) – Institutional learning as a feedback practice
Lasswell framed the study of policy as problem-oriented. The emergence of problems and how problems are framed, constructed, and used tends to be taken for granted when studying policy design and implementation. This is especially evident in the language of education reform and the dominant neoliberal ethos of performance and competition. In the state of Louisiana in the U.S., education reform has developed through top-down, regulatory efforts, with primary focus on testing and upper-level performance. An under-investigated aspect of education reform is early childhood education and care policy. Policies promoting early childhood education marshal broad support thanks to studies purporting advantages later in life, but policy details such as resource constraints and agreement on standards complicate implementation.
Act 3 of 2012 in Louisiana created a new regime for regulating early childhood care and education, unifying these activities in the state Department of Education (LDE). By 2015, the policy required full implementation. Our study considers two aspects of this implementation. First, we turn a critical eye toward the construction and definition of the policy problem in the legislation and, more importantly, in the department itself. Second, we investigate how the department “learns.” One of the important efforts in implementation of Act 3 in Louisiana was the use of pilots over three years, efforts intended to provide programmatic information as well as local, contextual needs. This was, in many respects, a classic attempt at policy laboratories. But, in relation to our first concern about problem representation, we want to learn how and what the agency “learned” through these efforts.
Our inquiry considers the political dimension to learning. We try to explore the non-cognitive aspects that distinguish between knowledge and learning in the process of political doings. As agencies answer to the demand that they must implement a policy design, how do the actions reframe the design, and to what extent do such activities derive from the application of knowledge or from the implications of preconceived goals and ideologies?
Panel 308: Policy Practice and Policy Analysis II
1. Sophie Thunus, University of Liège, Belgium - Public policies as process of practical action: the case of Belgian mental health reforms
This paper analyses the process of preparing and devising the policy programme of Reform 107, i.e. the ongoing reform of Belgian mental healthcare delivery. Based on empirical data collected through documentary analyses, semi-structured interviews with policy-makers and civil servants, and direct observations of meetings and conferences, it analyses the processes of preparing and devising Reform 107.
The analysis of the 15-year process during which Reform 107 had been prepared evidences that policy-makers came to know about the Reform’s scope and objectives as they went through local, national and international events and meetings, which relate more or less directly to the issue of mental health care delivery. The Reform’s scope and objectives thus varied during 15 years following, among other, international conferences held by the World Health Organisation ; advisory notes produced by Belgian interest groups ; special requests expressed by service users’ groups ; policy makers’ visits to local mental healthcare services in Belgium and other European countries.
Then, the analysis focuses on the three-month process following the policy decision to start Reform 107. During that short period, two special committees, the think tank and the task force, had translated the Reform’s objectives into a policy guide presenting the reform’s implementation plan. The analysis of the task Force and think tank’s meetings helps to highlight three types of policy learning -learning by assembling, learning by meeting and learning through strategic thinking, which are associated to three kinds of policy decisions defined as ambiguous, innovative and contested. The inscription of such ambiguous, innovative and contested decisions into the policy guide caused many disagreements and misunderstandings between policy-makers and local actors involved in the reform’s implementation. Those disagreements caused, in turn, changes in the reform’s objectives, scope and implementation.
By drawing on those results, we argue that Belgian mental health policies change as they are done. Consequently, those policies exist only as a process made of practical actions and social interactions leading to more or less significant variations in one or more aspects of policy programmes. Concrete implications for researches on public policy making and implementation are finally drew from our research’s results.
2. Oliver Escobar (University of Edinburgh) - Facilitating inequality? The micro-politics of designing and facilitating deliberative innovations
Scholars, officials and activists share certain concerns about new spaces for democratic innovation. Will participation simply replicate the inequalities that characterise society at large? Can these innovations avoid empowering the already powerful? How can these spaces ensure that voices seldom heard are included and influential in deliberation? Deliberative studies often lack empirical detail on process design and facilitation work, thus overlooking the micro-politics of implementing deliberative engagement. Drawing on a large study of 3 citizens’ juries in Scotland (47 citizens), this paper offers unique insight into the participation dynamics of groups characterised by diversity and inequality. The project entailed a concurrent mixed methods research design combining 7 data sources (i.e. panel questionnaires; participant observation; notes from organisers, facilitators and recruiters; semi-structured interviews; photographs; evaluations; jury outputs). The purpose was to conduct an in-depth study of ‘process’ dimensions. Analysing 3 citizens’ juries on the same contested topic (i.e. wind farm development) in different locations allowed for unique comparative insight. The paper demonstrates how choices in recruitment, forum design and facilitation approaches are crucial to minimise inequalities in participation and influence during deliberative processes. While scholarship increasingly emphasises concerns at the level ‘macro’ (i.e. deliberative systems), the paper shows that there is still much to learn about the ‘micro’ dynamics that make such innovations more or less egalitarian and democratic.
3. Michal Sedlacko, (University of Applied Science FH Campus Wien, Public Management, Vienna, AT) - Things of the state: technology in practice and state theory
Starting off with the intriguing notion of the ‘actor-network state’ by Passoth and Rowland (2010), the purpose of this conceptual paper is to examine the enactment of statehood through technological objects as participants in everyday practice.
Three bodies of literature will be drawn upon. First is literature from science and technology studies (STS), which is especially relevant for theoretical and methodological sensibility for ‘translation’ and ‘actor-networks’ (as well as later notions of fluidity and multiple orders). In addition, this literature has a track for examination of the political in relation to material objects and technologies (Winner 1980; Latour 1988; Akrich 1992; Latour 1992; Law 1992, 2009; Rip 1992; Callon 2002; Law and Singleton 2013).
The second body of literature is anthropological state theory (Scott 1985, 1998; Corrigan & Sayer 1985; Joseph & Nugent 1994; Shore 2012). Particularly intriguing is the Foucauldian notion of ‘statehood’ as an effect of an assemblage of discursive and material practices, institutions, spaces, regulations and other components. Such an open and flexible empirical focus that is also attentive to the actual doing is won through ethnographic sensibility and micro-level attention to detail combined with the ability to (re)construct individual instances into heterogeneous assemblages.
Lastly, the third body of literature draws mainly on organizational ethnography and workplace studies focusing on practices of documentation (Feldman 1989; Cambrosio et al. 1990; Harper 1997; Dery 1998; Hodder 2000; Smith 2001; Swarts, J. 2010; Nellen 2011; Van der Mast & Janssen 2011; Sullivan, P. 2012; Sergi 2013). It shares some of the sensibilities with the previous; nevertheless a particular focus lies on the co-ordinating, symbolic, subjectifying and other effects of collectively written and shared documents, as well as the technological nexuses giving them material form.
Through revisiting Deleuze’s and Guattari’s (1987) notion of ‘assemblage’ (cf. Bennett 2012) as the central theoretical language capable of translations across these three bodies of literature, this paper arrives at a conceptual description of how technologies (with a particular emphasis on technologies of documentation) as participants in everyday practice are political in the sense of structuring collective sociomaterial orders, in this context statehood. This description should contribute to the debate on ‘doing politics’: it would appear that politics is in this sense ‘the political’ is a particular mode of ordering of the society.
4. Jan-Peter Voß (Technische Universität Berlin) - Working for authority: practices of representation and the making of collective orders
The paper discusses “practices of representation” as an analytical entry point for a relational sociology of governance. It outlines a generic concept of power as “performative representation” which is inspired by science and technology studies (STS), actor-network theory (ANT) and (neo-)pragmatist sociology and which builds on a translation of the concept of “performativity”, as developed in studies of scientific practices, also for political practices: While science produces representations of objective reality and the conditions that it imposes, politics produces representations of collective subjects and their interests. Both practices perform a larger whole that transcends the individual human being and, if felicitous, can prompt allegiance and mobilise collective action. I argue that studying practices of representation provides a fruitful approach to trace “governance in the making”. It takes us to the work that is done to achieve authority, both epistemic and political (and perhaps other forms as well), and to make it work for the shaping of collective orders. The paper is mainly conceptual, but main points are illustrated with reference to global sustainability governance and specific challenges, also methodologically, in studying governance beyond the state and at the intersection of science and politics.
Panel 332: Positionality in Prostitution Research.
Chair: Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield)
Much scientific research on prostitution suffers from deep misunderstandings about, and ignorance of, on the part of academics about the everyday life circumstances and needs of sex workers and their families. That is not accidental, as opening up to these everyday experiences of sex workers can be challenging on a personal and professional level. In academic jargon this is called 'positionality'. Positionality refers to an awareness of, and an attitude of critical reflection on, the researcher's own frames of reference and the extent that these are embedded in dominant systems of knowledge and representation. Such frames may surreptitiously determine the research questions, the kind of data that are collected, the way these are interpreted, and the conclusions that are drawn from the research; resulting in research that doesn’t speak to the experiences of sex workers and that may easily lead to misguided policy recommendations. Kempadoo (2012) speaks of positionality as "unlearning dominant systems of knowledge and representation", learning to learn from below", "establishing an ethical relationship with our subjects". However, prostitution is a morally contested field where there is no neutral ground. Doing research on prostitution, therefore, has 'identity costs' in terms of where to position oneself on the continuum between scientific research and activism, and in between support and critical distance between public policy. The panel - conducted as a dialogue between sex workers, sex worker advocates and academic scholars - intends to explore and articulate positionality. The panel also wants to look forward and contribute to an ethics of prostitution research.
Kempadoo, K., (2012), Abolitionism, Criminal Justice, and Transnational Feminism: Twenty-first-century perspectives on Trafficking, in K. Kempadoo (ed.), Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered. New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work, and Human Rights, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, vii-xlii
1. Laurens Buijs (University of Amsterdam) – Research on the Interface of Sex Work and Activism
In this paper I reflect on a decade of research on sex work in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. I explore the tensions the sphere of policy, the sphere of research and the sphere of sex work. I reflect on the absence of a morally neutral space in sex work research and what that means for the position of the researcher.
2. Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield) - Researching Morality Politics: Sex Work, State and the Position of the Researcher
Starting with an explosive conflict that erupted between the researcher and local government, I reflect on the possibility of doing government-financed research on a morally contested topic such as prostitution. Despite adhering to all the tenets of co-productive inquiry, the conflict was escalated by the government sponsors who were determined to ignore its main finding and force their position on the final report. This led the researcher to conclude that sex work research cannot – and should not – take place without provisions for including sex workers as co-producers of the research. I reflect on the methodological implications of this position and on the demarcation between research and activism.
Wagenaar, H. (2015), “Governance-Driven Conflict: Policy, Reason of State and Authoritarian Governmentality”, in E. Gualini, J. Mourato and M. Allegra (eds.) Conflict in the City: Contested Urban Spaces and Local Democracy, Berlin: Jovis Verlag, pp 112-132
Wagenaar, H & Altink S, (2012), “Prostitution as Morality Politics or Why It Is Exceedingly Difficult To Design and Sustain Effective Prostitution Policy”, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 9: 279-297
Wagenaar, H. Altink, S and Amesberger, H. (2013), Final Report of the International Comparative study of Prostitution Policy, The Hague: Platform 31
3. Noemi Katona (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) - Dilemmas of double roles: doing research and social work in street-based prostitution
In my dissertation project I conducted ethnographic research on Hungarian sex workers living in Berlin. While doing ethnography at this field site, I was employed at a social service providing agency in the outdoor prostitution area. In my research project I discuss questions related to ethnicity, class and gender. Therefore reflecting on my position in the field regarding these inequalities and looking at my relationship with the research subjects is highly important. In my presentation I analyze the particularity of having double roles in the field and explain how it affected my connection to the sex workers and their boyfriends/procurers and how this defines my research and narrative. I bring personal experiences about the insider/outsider dilemmas, the ways
I approached ethnic identity and gender norms in the field and the ethical and methodological issues I had to face with. Thereby I critically engage with the aims of social work in the field of sex work and reflect on my role as being non-Roma, a middle class woman and a co-worker at a social agency and the power relations this indicates. Being present in three different layers in the field, I provide a complex tandem ethnography (Molland 2013, 2014) by analyzing the social practices in the field, the work of the “helping industry” (Agustin 2004), and the academic discourse on trafficking and sex work research (Bernstein 2010, 2014).
Agustín, Laura María. 2004. Alternate Ethics, or: Telling Lies to Researchers. Research for Sex Work, June 2004, 6-7.
Bernstein, Elisabeth. 2010. Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Antitrafficking Campaigns. Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2010, vol. 36, no. 1.
Bernstein, Elizabeth and Shih, Elena. 2014. The Erotics of Authenticity: Sex Trafficking and “Reality Tourism” in Thailand. Social Politics 2014.
Sverre Molland. 2013. Tandem ethnography: On researching ‘trafficking’ and ‘anti-trafficking’. Ethnography 14(3) 300–323.
Sverre Molland. 2014. In search of the perfect method. Reflections on knowing, seeing, measuring and estimating human trafficking. In: HumanTrafficking in Asia: Forcing issues. Ed. Sallie Yeila. Rouledge: London and New York. 101-117
Panel 344: Public policy and economic and financial crises: beyond political economy?
Chairs: Sabine Saurugger (Sciences Po Grenoble, PACTE) & Patrick Hassenteufel (Université de Versailles, Saint-Quentin en Yvelines (UVSQ)/ Sciences Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye)
Discussant: Claudio Radaelli (University of Exeter)
The subprime crisis of 2007, followed by the sovereign debt crisis in 2009 has considerably modified the context in which public policy making takes place in Europe. European countries have been confronted with important budget deficits and level of debts which have put pressure on the policy structures, paradigms and ‘ways of doing things’. A series of recent publications (Bermeo & Pontusson, 2012 ; Streeck, Schäfer, 2013 ; Stuckler/Basu 2013 ; Schmidt/Thatcher 2013 ; Blyth, 2013, 2014 ; Thelen, 2014 as well as special issues: Governance, JEPP, Public Administration, Policy and Politics ...) have dealt with this puzzle from point of view of austerity politics, underlining the increased importance of budgetary and financial considerations on macro-economic policy-making in political economy approaches. These studies concentrate more on the policy content when analysing the reaction to the crises than on the processes and interactions that led to those. Hence, Bermeo and Pontusson (2012), for instance, point out three specificities of state economic policymaking responses to the crises: First, that states not in danger of default relied overwhelmingly on fiscal stimulus packages to cope with the crisis. Second, that the size and composition of fiscal stimuli varied considerably across states. Third, that the heavy reliance on fiscal stimulus, plus a radically different industrial policy, distinguished the reactions to the Great Recession from reactions to its predecessor. They underline, in particular the distinctiveness between these crises and the instruments used to address previous economic and financial crises such as protectionism, devaluation, and nationalization, which were, for the most part, absent in the current policy options that governments considered from 2008 to today.
Without neglecting this perspective, which became dominant in comparative politics, the papers of this panel aim at analysing the changing power relations between actors in policy-making under the stress created by economic and financial crises. In line with this section’s attempt to overcome the traditional dualisms in political science such as structure vs. agency, the panel conceives of public policy as a ‘dynamic processes generated by recursively related elements’. The interaction between agents and structure, as well as the strategic use of structure by administrative agents (see also Jessop 2005), are at the centre of this panel’s papers. The specific transformations of actor configurations will be analysed from an actor-centred constructivist perspective (for an overview see Saurugger 2013), taking into account the multiple levels of action (supranational, national and local).
Bermeo, N., & Pontusson, J. (Eds.). (2012). Coping with Crisis. Russell Sage Foundation.
Blyth, M. (2013). Austerity: the history of a dangerous idea. Oxford University Press.
Blyth, M. (2013). Paradigms and paradox: The politics of economic ideas in two moments of crisis. Governance, 26(2), 197-215.
Jessop, Bob (2005) Critical Realism and the Strategic-Relational Approach. New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory and Politics (56). pp. 40-53. ISSN 1741-0789
Saurugger, S. (2013). Constructivism and public policy approaches in the EU: from ideas to power games. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(6), 888-906.
Schmidt, V., & Thatcher, M. (Eds.) (2013) Resilient Liberalism in Europe’s Political Economy, Contemporary European Politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press
Streeck, W., & Schäfer, A. (Eds.). (2013). Politics in the Age of Austerity. John Wiley & Sons.
Stuckler, D., & Basu, S. (2013). The body economic: why austerity kills. Basic Books.
Thelen, K. (2014). Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity. Cambridge University Press.
1. Patrick Hassenteufel (Université de Versailles, Saint-Quentin en Yvelines (UVSQ)/ Sciences Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye) and Sabine Saurugger, Sciences Po Grenoble, PACTE, Economic and financial crisis and policy change: an actor-centred approach
Starting from a critique of the latest varieties of capitalism literature that concentrates mainly on the argument of macro-economic structures influencing State answers to the economic and financial crisis in Europe, this paper develops an actor-centred approach, focusing on power relations between administrations and civil servants in order to understand how public policies adapt and change in times of austerity politics. The position of winners and losers can be better understood with a focus on meso-and micro studies that go beyond state typologies of macro-economic policies.
2. Jean Joana (Université Montpellier 1) and Catherine Hoeffler (ESPOL, UC Lille), Striking back against Austerity: French defence policy in times of crisis
Political science accounts of the debt crisis in Europe have highlighted the changes observable in national and European policymaking. These changes have vastly showed an emphasis on economic imperatives and more precisely on the crisis’ impact on public expenditure. Defence policy offers a particularly interesting perspective on the politics of state adaptation to spending cuts. While being at the core of state sovereignty, this policy has not been immune to attempts at decreasing public expenditure, which have materialized in decreasing strategic influence in some cases (Evans 2013). Still, the French defence policy has experienced a more nuanced evolution, with ambiguous budgetary compromises and renewed military interventionism abroad. This paper seeks to explain the crisis’ impact on defence policy: it shows that the budgetary imperative has been mediated by sector-specific institutions, ie. the French strategic autonomy and political will to remain a military actor at the European level as well as individual high-level civil servants. The French defence policy has proved highly resilient against spending cuts, contrary to other European partners.
3. Claude Dostie Jr. and Stéphane Paquin (École nationale d'administration publique, Montreal ), The macro- prudential turning point in Europe: a paradigm under construction
Since the financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the maintenance of financial stability has become a concern of a growing number of actors. Regulators around the world are now trying to monitor the development of so-called systemic risks and control through macro-prudential regulation. The objective of this presentation is to explain what is the macroprudential turn, how it has affected all regulatory bodies and particularly how it led to a reconfiguration of financial regulation in Europe to a paradigm shift.
4. Louise Lartigot-Hervier (Sciences Po Paris) and Marek Naczyk (Oxford University, Department of Social Policy and Intervention), The politics of social protection in crisis
The aim of this paper is to analyze how and why French and German social policies have adapted or resisted change in times of austerity measures. Based on an actor-centred research, the authors show that change was slow and incremental in both countries, creating new coalitions amongst actors, contrary to what one would expect.
5. Fabien Terpan (Sciences Po Grenoble, CESICE) and Sabine Saurugger (Sciences Po Grenoble, PACTE), Do crises lead to policy change? The Multiple Streams Framework and the European Union’s economic governance instruments.
The aim of this paper is to understand in which direction policies change in periods of crisis. Do they lead to the hardening of norms or the introduction of softer rules governing public policies? Based on the study of policy change in two periods of economic governance – the 2003/2005 Stability and Growth Pact crisis, and the 2009-2013 economic governance crisis, this article explains why the policy change in the first case led to softer governance mechanisms, while during the second crisis, soft governance mechanisms were transformed into hard law. In applying the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF) to study these policy changes, we argue that the wider the window of opportunity and the more coherent the coalition of policy entrepreneurs, the higher the possibility for these actors to push in favour of legally constraining norms. Hence it is not solely the power or capacity of one policy entrepreneur, in this case – the German government – that leads to hardening of soft law, but the coherence of the coalition the policy entrepreneur is able to build.
Panel 382: Roundtable: Insights, common ground and future directions of Relational Approaches to Policy Analysis
Chair: Hendrik Wagenaar (University of Sheffield)
1. Nick Turnbull (University of Manchester)
2. Sabine Saurugger (Sciences Po Grenoble)
3. Martien Kuitenbrouwer (University of Amsterdam)
4. Richard Freeman(University of Edinburgh)
5. Koen Bartels (Bangor University)
6. Ray Ison (The Open University)