Research

 

You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1,500 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
 

Books: Research

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Addressing the central theme of structure and agency, this chapter explores the dilemma that decision-making entails structural power often controlled by elites, while transformative change often happens through the agency of people power and collective action. Key to enabling transformation is the relationship between mobilisation and democratic institutions; we need more democracy (more equalising structures) and more mobilised citizens (more agentic power). The dominant form of power in political parties needs to relate to and facilitate the transformative power of mobilisation. The first section of the chapter briefly contextualises the structural power of capital, corporations and elites and addresses the importance of engagement of people in ideational debate in rich forms of participatory and deliberative democracy: a form of institutional democracy described as ‘high-energy democracy’. The second section discusses strategies for collective mobilisation, arguing for coalition-building and mobilisation around environmental, gender and social reproduction and traditional distributional concerns about income equality and public services. Arguing that necessity is the mother of coalition, the combined evils of environmental destruction and inequality merit a new political mobilisation in the form of a triple movement. The chapter concludes by discussing Ireland from the perspective of movement-building, examining various constellations of actors, and clusters of mobilisations.

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The book integrates ecological and social arguments in identifying the problems and solutions to issues of contemporary sustainability. Intentionally light in its presentation of theory, key concepts discussed include commodification, globalisation, sustainability, institutions, services, income, participation, imaginaries, transformation, and power. The book focuses on the problem; the cojoined realities of increasing inequality and environmental destruction, and part of the solution; a recast welfare system as an ecosocial welfare system capable of enabling society to meet the challenges of achieving sustainability and equality. Ecosocial welfare reflects the transformational potential of social policy. It is mapped, in this book, as specific reform proposals combining enabling institutions, universal basic services and income support (Participation Income). The intention is to enable different outcomes for work, income, time and care, and facilitate socially useful work and flourishing lives.

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Chapter 1 begins by examining the contemporary globalised and financialised eco-political economy and draws on a Polanyian framework and concept of commodification. The chapter analyses the problem, the related social and ecological destruction, as commodification, and uses the concept of decommodification to frame potential solutions pointing to an ecosocial project that deemphases the role of the market in favour of an enhanced role for the state and society. It argues that states should focus on addressing need through social, public and local mechanisms in which we care for each other and put our planet at the centre of our policy processes. The chapter concludes by assessing the anchor case, Ireland’s political economy and its commodified policy and outcomes.

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We all now have to find our place in engagement with climate change and be part of the demand for systemic change. The conclusion interrogates the propositions in the book to test whether they are coherent and convincing arguments. It echoes the challenge, identifying a clear problem and proposing an ecosocial welfare future as part of a broader transformative agenda to a post-growth world. It situates a political strategy for making it happen through a deepening and widening of democratic institutions and processes and inclusive participation and coalition-building. The conclusion underscores the urgency of now and how crisis only offers opportunity to those who are ready with ideas to enact. Ready now

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A uniquely hybrid approach to welfare state policy, ecological sustainability and social transformation, this book explores transformative models of welfare change.

Using Ireland as a case study, it addresses the institutional adaptations needed to move towards a sustainable welfare state, and the policy of making such transformation happen.

It takes a theoretical and practical approach to implementing an alternative paradigm for welfare in the context of globalisation, climate change, social cohesion, automation, economic and power inequalities, intersectionality and environmental sustainability, as well as perpetual crisis, including the pandemic.

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The book integrates ecological and social arguments in identifying the problems and solutions to issues of contemporary sustainability. Intentionally light in its presentation of theory, key concepts discussed include commodification, globalisation, sustainability, institutions, services, income, participation, imaginaries, transformation, and power. The book focuses on the problem; the cojoined realities of increasing inequality and environmental destruction, and part of the solution; a recast welfare system as an ecosocial welfare system capable of enabling society to meet the challenges of achieving sustainability and equality. Ecosocial welfare reflects the transformational potential of social policy. It is mapped, in this book, as specific reform proposals combining enabling institutions, universal basic services and income support (Participation Income). The intention is to enable different outcomes for work, income, time and care, and facilitate socially useful work and flourishing lives.

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This chapter focuses on how the contemporary global model of financialised capital leads to greater inequality, an inequality unequally experienced across different groups in society within and between nations. It explores how inequality intersects with the ecological crisis, increasing wants and fuelling consumption in the Global North, while leaving countries and people in the Global South vulnerable to poverty and ill-equipped to meet the challenges that climate change is already presenting. This is particularly true for women and girls who bear the worst impacts of both inequality and climate change. The second part of the chapter discusses tensions at the heart of welfare policy in the Global North. A less conditional and more enabling and flourishing form of careful social policy is needed to resource the scale and type of active citizenship required in an ecosocial state. The challenge is to redistribute and support work, income, time and democratic participation in a post-growth society and economy through ecosocial welfare. The chapter concludes by reviewing the state of inequality and wellbeing in Irish society.

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The book integrates ecological and social arguments in identifying the problems and solutions to issues of contemporary sustainability. Intentionally light in its presentation of theory, key concepts discussed include commodification, globalisation, sustainability, institutions, services, income, participation, imaginaries, transformation, and power. The book focuses on the problem; the cojoined realities of increasing inequality and environmental destruction, and part of the solution; a recast welfare system as an ecosocial welfare system capable of enabling society to meet the challenges of achieving sustainability and equality. Ecosocial welfare reflects the transformational potential of social policy. It is mapped, in this book, as specific reform proposals combining enabling institutions, universal basic services and income support (Participation Income). The intention is to enable different outcomes for work, income, time and care, and facilitate socially useful work and flourishing lives.

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This chapter demonstrates the impact of the highly financialised and commodified global regime on the environment. It outlines how we are approaching likely irreversible planetary tipping and how mitigating these effects will require radical transformation, no less than system change. Given the cost of climate transition is felt by those who can least afford it, the chapter explores the need for transitional justice and welfare state intervention at a global level. Rejecting technological adjustments and price mechanisms as the primary mechanisms to achieve such transformation, it argues a post-growth orientation offers a potential pathway to decommodification and just transition. The chapter concludes by reflecting on how Ireland’s political economy impacts negatively on local and global ecological sustainability and biodiversity.

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The focus of this chapter is on our ecosocial political imaginary and a chicken and egg conundrum: the relationship between mobilisation and alternatives. Alternatives should not be highly developed policy blueprints or detailed maps, but they do have to signal the direction and starting point of change. The chapter first argues for policy imagination and for the need to articulate alternatives in the tradition of ‘realist pragmatism’ or ‘real utopias’. It assesses the role of ideas in orienting change during crisis. The second section of the chapter examines the importance of framing alternatives in constructive, offensive rather than defensive, language capable of mobilising a wide range of actors, uniting rather than dividing society and offering hope in being ‘for’ rather than ‘against’. This underscores the importance of who participates in articulating alternatives and ‘vocabularies of our imagination’. The Irish section reviews examples of framing transformative ideas in recent constitutional referendums in Ireland.

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