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This article offers results of a comparative case study into how pressures from the media translate into the involvement of senior civil servants (SCSs) in media management and how this is reflected in differentiated ways in politico-administrative relationships. It offers tentative explanations for these differences through the lens of ‘public service bargains’. Based upon a qualitative analysis of documents and 62 interviews with SCSs and advisers in Denmark, Sweden and the UK, the research found that: (i) media management, in some countries, generates an extension and an amplification of the normative expectations towards SCSs’ involvement in media management; (ii) this is accompanied by a revitalisation of the reflections from SCSs to balance their responsiveness to the minister with anonymity and neutrality when involved in media management; (iii) an extensive formal politicisation seems to curb pressures on SCSs’ anonymity and neutrality and their involvement in media management. These findings improve our knowledge of SCSs’ involvement in media management by raising crucial questions about the political neutrality of administrators, tendencies towards politicised governance and (more) interventionist political staffers – amid intensified pressures from the media on governments.

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This paper offers a novel analysis of how Nepal is delivering its commitment to secondary education provision that is advancing environmental sustainability, tracing a trajectory that begins with national policies relating to environmental sustainability and incorporating the national curriculum framework, textbooks, pedagogies used in classrooms, and learner experiences and anticipated actions. We consider Nepal’s education about and for environmental sustainability in the context of theories of environmental justice, and question if and how secondary provision might promote the behavioural change that Nepal recognises is vital for environmental sustainability. Qualitative data were generated through policy analysis, critical content analysis of secondary-level curriculum and textbooks, classroom observations, semi-structured interviews with 15 teachers and 4 headteachers, and a range of in-person activities with 24 students in purposively selected four community secondary schools in the three diverse locations across Nepal. The results illuminate pronounced disconnections across modalities that indicate incoherence and unresolved debates in the underlying narrative of what environmental sustainability is and the role of education in addressing it. Our findings suggest that learners’ ideas, opinions, thinking and experiences should be encouraged and celebrated in the classroom to aid learners in translating conceptual learning into practical, sustainable behaviours, as well as to contribute to environmental justice. The findings appeal to the concerned stakeholders for their consideration of future policy and programme development that promotes environmental justice through education and establishes a connection between classroom learning and students’ lived experiences through a participatory approach, collaboration, and critical and creative thinking.

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Not everyone’s ideas count equally in terms of influencing and informing policy design and instrument choices. As the literature on policy advice has shown, such advice arises from many different actors interacting with each other often over relatively long timeframes. Actors within these ‘policy advisory systems’ operate within the confines of an existing set of political and economic institutions and governing norms, and each actor brings with them different interests, ideas and resources. Studying who these actors are, how they act and how their actions affect the overall nature of the advice system and its contents are critical aspects of current public policy research. But not all these elements have been equally well conceptualised or studied, especially those concerning their impact on the quality of policy advice emerging from a system. In this article, the general nature of policy advisory systems is set out, their major components described and a model of individual and organisational behaviour within them outlined inspired by a modification of the ‘exit, voice, loyalty’ rubric of Albert Hirschman. Our findings show how aggregated individual organisational behaviour along the lines suggested by Hirschman can over time result in very different kinds of advice being provided by an advisory system, with predictable consequences for its nature and quality.

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Many of the most pernicious contemporary urban problems require local governments to organise collectively across jurisdictions and reorganise or coordinate internally across bureaucratic silos. Climate change, for example, is a complex system phenomenon impacting a range of interconnected socio-environmental systems in a region, such as water, transportation and energy infrastructures which may not be directly under the control of a single department or government. This often requires managers and policymakers to coordinate policy responses across siloed units within governments and through network-based arrangements across governments. Theories of polycentricity and collective action have long drawn attention to the barriers and opportunities of collaboration and multilevel governance in fashioning adequate responses to complex problems. However, these approaches typically fail to explicate the relationships or interactions between internal and external collaboration risks and the institutional mechanisms for ameliorating them. This article empirically explores this relationship between functional collective action (collaboration across departmental units within a single government) and intergovernmental collective action (collaboration across governments). Situated in the context of climate adaptation and electric vehicle (EV) policy efforts in cities, the article highlights the need for greater scholarly attention more broadly to the development of institutional collective action theory.

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Emotions are gaining increasing attention in public policy. Policy process research so far has focused on the effects of emotions rather than their roots. In social psychology, emotions are a central part of social identity theory (SIT), and the relevance of social identities in the policy process (SIPP) has recently been acknowledged. This raises the question of how the identification with social groups is linked to emotions related to policies and policy preferences. Filling this research gap, this article analyses social identities and resulting emotions as potential explanations for public policy preferences. The findings reveal that the strength of social identities is a significant predictor for policy-related emotions. However, it also shows that the explanatory power of social identities and related emotions differs by policy field. Our results have implications for the study of social groups and emotions and for understanding and overcoming conflicts between people with different identities and emotions.

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This paper explores how Ugandan secondary school learners experience schooling in English-medium schools where the use of English only is strictly enforced. We conceptualise the ways that the learners sit at the intersection of direct, systemic and cultural violence that in turn impacts their educational experiences. We particularly focus on instances of direct violence through corporal punishment, and the ways that such violence, and associated fear, are part of many learners’ everyday schooling experiences. We demonstrate this through presentation of findings from thematic analysis of individual and focus group interviews with 64 learners at two public and two private secondary schools in the Amuru and Kitgum districts of Northern Uganda. Our conclusions advocate for greater attention to be paid to the ways that changes to enforced English-only policies could support more positive well-being and educational outcomes.

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In this article, I analyse the constitutive effects of the exclusion of sex work for the European Union’s (EU’s) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) policies. I combine queer theory, the literature on EU LGBTI politics and approaches that address sex work from a queer perspective and develop a discursive analysis of the EU’s LGBTI policies between 1984 and 2020. I argue that the EU’s LGBTI policies exclude sex work in various ways and that such exclusion is constitutive of the EU’s LGBTI policies themselves, in particular, when sex work is framed in neo-abolitionist terms. Specifically, the EU’s LGBTI policies exclude sex work as a constitutive other against which the neoliberal and homonormative sexual subject of rights and new sexual respectability that structures such policies are constructed. The exclusion of sex work from the EU’s LGBTI policies is thus indispensable to disciplining political subjectivity and sexuality in line with heteronormativity and neoliberalism in such terms.

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China’s path is conceived as a transition from an economically underdeveloped and semi-colonised country of the Global South into a modern socialist country in a multipolar world where successive steps (modes of regulation) were shaped by China’s external environment (uneven and combined development) and a succession of contradictions and crises encountered along the way. Three phases are examined: a turbulent phase of socialist construction in a context of capital shortage and US embargoes; a phase of reform and opening up in an era of neoliberal globalisation, whose early roots lay in the early 1970s’ rapprochement with the US; and a New Era dating from 2017. In each phase, crises and contradictions saw waves of reform, involving successive joint transformations of economic structures and institutions, while each phase was anticipated in the years that preceded it, so opening up started in the early 1970s with the rapprochement with the US, and aspects of the New Era concern with innovation, green development, common prosperity and an equitable global order started to emerge earlier.

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