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 1400 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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Policy analysis in Brazil is part of the International Library of Policy Analysis and is the first book to paint a comprehensive panorama of policy analysis activities in Brazil. Highlighting the unique features of the Brazilian example, it brings together 18 studies by leading Brazilian social scientists on policy analysis as a widespread activity pursued in a variety of policy fields and through different methods by governmental and non-governmental institutions and actors. It shows how policy analysis emerged as part of Brazilian state-building from the 1930s onwards. With the democratisation process of the late 1980s, policy analysis began to include innovative elements of social participation in public management. This unique book offers key insights into the practice of this field and is indispensable reading for scholars, policy makers and students of the social sciences interested in learning how policy analysis developed and functions in Brazil.

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The chapter examines the activities of sector policy communities in Brazil, particularly the national social assistance policy council (Conselho Nacional de Assistência Social; CNAS). The policy community connected with social assistance was among those responsible for the transition from a model of assistance based on religious charity to one of social rights. In the neo-corporatist tradition considered by the author, the CNAS operates under government influence. In addition, throughout the 2000s, a dynamic of coalitions can be seen on the council, with government and professional and trade union associations congregated at one extreme, and religious and service provider organisations at the other. In the course of the process, it is observed a transition from a situation where religious and philanthropic organisations had the initiative to one where the central bureaucracy was in control and the social rights agenda took precedence over one based on charity.

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Civil society action in national policies in response to the AIDS epidemic since the 1980s, one of the prime examples of successful policy combining government capability and societal activism in Brazil, is examined by Elize Massard Fonseca and Francisco Inácio P. Bastos. As the basis for analysing the overall policy, they focus on government policies to guarantee access to anti-retroviral drugs, looking at the role of advocacy groups in the debate over ownership of drug patents and harm reduction policies for drug users. The World Bank’s strong support for AIDS control favoured the agenda of groups and experts concerned to produce policy analyses and solutions, such as needle exchange programmes as harm reduction policy. Activism connected with the epidemic and AIDS control played an important role in information production for, and influence on, government decision-making, particularly in promoting universal access to drugs, in discussion forums on intellectual property and in the clash with laboratories over prices and local production rights.

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Analysing the think tanks in Brazil, the chapter shows that organisations that in other contexts may perhaps be characterised as think tanks – in that they deal with policy analysis – are not always recognised, nor recognise themselves, as having the role of influencing public policy. Aside from the fact that they are few and recent in Brazil, these institutes were founded by high-ranking technical elites in their fields, which may explain why they set themselves apart from the field of politics, an arena associated with politicians, parties and movements, where interests and ideologies prevail more explicitly than technical solutions based on high expertise.

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Production of systematic policy analyses and monitoring of strategic indicators for the industrial sector and public policy sector form the subject matter considered in this chapter in terms of the dynamics of business and industrial associations (particularly in the Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo area) and of semi-public corporative associations in the main sectors of the economy. It shows that, accompanying Brazil’s re-democratisation, the focus of interest mediation has migrated, in significant measure at least, from the Executive to the Legislative in a movement associated with increasingly professional lobbying activities. The study reveals a high degree of complexity in policy tracking and analysis, with internal specialisation tailored to monitoring policies of interest to specific industrial sectors. In a context of re-democratisation, the conjunctural conditions affording access to the apparatus of State and the increasing availability of information from public agencies, as well as globalisation, have been important factors in strengthening these organisations’ capacity for analysis. This has affected the pattern of industrial organisations’ activities and their political agenda and has altered the traditional corporative arrangement inherited from the 1930s.

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The political analysis that resulted in the adoption of the universal right to health in the 1988 Federal Constitution and the intellectual foundations of the health sector reform are examined in this chapter. In connection with the democratic transition of the 1980s, it highlights the role of political argumentation by the epistemic community of experts in the health field as central to the universalist health sector reform. The basis for argumentation in favour of the health sector reform was produced by researchers at public universities and research institutes, who challenged the idea of subordinating the reform to the social security conception in favour of the proposal for universalization supported by general taxation. This community’s analytical output concentrated on deconstructing the government’s medical care policy at a time when the constitutional drafting assembly was calling for institutional arguments to justify the health sector reform project, and thus ensured the reform’s approval.

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This chapter identifies the key factors affecting how policies are received and analysed by the media. When the media are considered as a polyarchic institution, the balance of forces in the policy debate can be seen to raise or lower competitors’ transactional costs. The media act fundamentally by agenda-setting, framing issues by selecting the news and how it will be broadcast and by the panoptic effects of exposing people’s vulnerabilities. He notes how the rise of the workers’ party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) to government in 2002 kindled debate over review of existing communications sector regulations and introduction of a regulatory agency, both fiercely rejected by the major media, culminating in the government’s abandoning its regulatory initiatives.

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Particularist relations are increasingly giving way to technical competences and universal procedures as the basis for forming the public bureaucracy. The chapter examines the role of the bureaucratic system as one of the factors that played a decisive part in modernising the Brazilian state by professionalising on the basis of technical and scientific expertise, formalising rules, and standardising procedures. Focusing on methods of recruiting for the bureaucracy, the chapter shows that, particularly from the 2000s onwards, greater professionalisation, oversight of the bureaucracy and recruitment by competitive examination indicate that Brazil’s democracy is being strengthened. It is argued that in spite of the multiple mechanisms used by different governments and political regimes to recruit for the bureaucracy, the federal executive was always able to construct bureaucratic capabilities to meet its priorities.

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This chapter analyses the activities of Brazil’s main political parties since the early 1990s in a study of constitutional amendments submitted during the period. It draws attention to the fact that, in the day-to-day activities of Brazil’s Congress, policy is not produced exclusively by the parties between which national contests for the Executive are polarised (the PT and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, PSDB). Unlike other routine ballots and activities, constitutional amendments reflect the political agenda of the major parties and the actions of their key leaders. The study corroborates the argument that the parties function more as processors of ideas produced outside their institutional environment than as original producers. By analysing each proposed constitutional amendment in the context of the corresponding cycle of government, it reveals that the PT administration coincided with a reduction in ideological polarisation on matters such as tax, political and social security reform.

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Policy analysis in Brazil is part of the International Library of Policy Analysis and is the first book to paint a comprehensive panorama of policy analysis activities in Brazil. Highlighting the unique features of the Brazilian example, it brings together 18 studies by leading Brazilian social scientists on policy analysis as a widespread activity pursued in a variety of policy fields and through different methods by governmental and non-governmental institutions and actors. It shows how policy analysis emerged as part of Brazilian state-building from the 1930s onwards. With the democratisation process of the late 1980s, policy analysis began to include innovative elements of social participation in public management. This unique book offers key insights into the practice of this field and is indispensable reading for scholars, policy makers and students of the social sciences interested in learning how policy analysis developed and functions in Brazil.

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