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This article analyses the reporting of evidence in Swiss direct-democratic campaigns in the health policy sector, assuming that an informed public helps democracy function successfully. A content analysis of the media's news reporting shows that of 5030 media items retrieved, a reference to evidence is found in 6.8%. The voter receives evidence in the form of substantiating arguments, equally distributed among proponents and opponents. Experts have the highest chance of providing evidence, but appear most rarely. Integrating more evidence might provide voters with the diversity of arguments needed to make a truly informed decision.
Sustainable development (SD) is widely accepted as a form of development we, as humankind, should but do not have at the moment. Discussing SD, therefore, is not discussing reality but plans for desired changes based on perceived reality. Depending on who does the planning, perceptions of reality as well as desires for change may differ. This chapter discusses some of those plans with regard to the ‘social’ dimension of SD.
The social forms one of the cornerstones of the standard tripartite system of SD, consisting of environmental, economic and social dimensions (Elkington, 1997), often, in Wikipedia and elsewhere, illustrated as a triangular graph, with the three dimensions occupying three corners or overlapping bubbles. Recently, it has been complemented by the cultural dimension (Magee et al, 2012). This concept goes back to the Brundtland Commission (officially World Commission on Environment and Development) and its landmark report Our Common Future, published in 1987. It famously defined sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (WCED, 1987: 43). This often- cited reference to intergenerational justice has shaped the popular understanding of SD, while inter- regional (social) justice has received a lot less attention. As just one case in point, there is no section entitled ‘social’ in a 2014 exhaustive, four- volume publication on Sustainable Development, and topics that could be interpreted as social are conspicuously underrepresented (Blewitt, 2014).
This chapter aims to distinguish the politics of cultural difference and the politics of positional difference. It discusses how the tendency to narrow consideration of a politics of difference to a liberal paradigm in much recent political theory has resulted in at least three unfortunate consequences. The discussion also considers the critical limits to the politics of cultural difference.
The contribution of this chapter is in its comparative overview of the graduate programs of public affairs/public policy in Israel, the assessment of their adherence to normative curricular practice in the United States, Canada and Europe, as well as their support of the public service in the Israeli context. With public policy analysis gradually becoming a profession in Israel, the programs of public policy, public administration and public affairs serve as the main pipeline for the training and development of a knowledgeable public service. Our underlying assumption is that the way public policy analysis is instructed, plays (a) a central role in the future approach and orientation of policy analysts in general as members of a professional community; and, (b) helps the Israeli public service become a more accountable, systematic, effective, and transparent system able to support democratic tenets and compete in the global markets.
This paper addresses contemporary reform in postgraduate medical education that aims to standardise training. The reforms are guided by public policy interventions to increase quality of care, objectify performance, and to prepare residents for changing health care needs. This paper draws on an ethnographic study in the Netherlands, studying how new training standards have been incorporated in everyday gynaecology and surgery residency training. Perceiving educational science as a new epistemic culture alongside the traditional professional authority-based epistemic culture, the paper examines how both epistemic cultures have interweaved, fabricating a new training culture that assembles both traditional and ‘new’ elements.
North American and European public policy programs are placed in a comparative context and assessed in light of domestic and global developments. The historical background of policy analysis and research in light of the nature and scope of American influence, the development of differences and similarities in policy analysis versus research, the roles and impacts of ‘experiential learning’ tools such as co-ops and internships, and the roles and impacts of accreditation bodies, are identified and discussed as key determinants in the development and nature of public policy programs.
Health literacy can be defined as the ability to read, filter and understand health information in order to form sound judgements (European Commission, 2007). Health literacy enables individuals to make informed decisions, which makes health literacy an important public health goal that can potentially reduce health inequalities within societies (Nutbeam, 2000). Where the topic of health literacy has mainly received attention within the realm of research and clinical practice, it is increasingly being recognised that efforts are needed on a health policy level to enhance health literacy on a population level (Kickbusch et al, 2013). Health literacy is not just the responsibility of the general population or of a single sector: it crosses boundaries, professionals and jurisdictions (Mitic and Rootman, 2012, p 17). Policy-makers are important stakeholders in this, and enhancing health literacy should therefore be a target of (national) policies.
In recent years, the interest in health literacy has been growing in European Union (EU) member states. The number of scientific studies on the topic is increasing, various educational and care improvement initiatives are being undertaken, and some countries have developed a national policy or formulated specific goals regarding health literacy in their general public health targets. Many of these activities were inspired by the first European international comparative study on health literacy, the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-EU) (Pelikan et al, 2012; see also Chapter 8, this volume). The HLS-EU study was conducted in 2011 and focused on the level of health literacy in the general population of eight European countries: Austria, Germany (Nord-Rhein-Westphalia), Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Poland and Bulgaria.
Verity-Fee, Phoenix, Iris and Angel are white, working-class women who are, or who have been, locked out of sight from society in a women’s prison in England. They are just four of the women we have had the privilege of collaborating with over the past five years as part of the work we do delivering a prison education programme called the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programme1. Our collaborative work and writing in this book is organised into two connected chapters. Chapter 6 is about context. Drawing on our experiences of writing, teaching and learning with women in prison, this chapter outlines the prison-based teaching programme that brought us together and explores our theoretical and conceptual approach. Much of our thinking about the punishment of women and prisons is born out of our many conversations with incarcerated women who have taken part in classes or with whom we have worked over the years. In Chapter 7, we go on to provide a critical reflection of our varied epistemologies on the imprisonment of women. We make no excuses for writing in an emotive way, and, in places, exposing our ‘uncomfortable’ and contradictory perspectives. On the contrary – this is first and foremost a feminist project and as such we celebrate subjectivity and individual experience (Reinharz, 1992), which are particularly impossible to ignore in a prison environment (Liebling, 1999). Chapter 7, is also co-authored with Verity-Fee, Phoenix, Iris and Angel but their names appear before ours in the authorship order, partly because their writings and prison journeys take centre stage.
Four incarcerated women were involved in the project. They are each strong, kind and thoughtful and, like all of us, have flaws (Fine and Torre, 2006). After several years delivering prison education and working within the prison estate, we have learned not to judge or romanticise the women we work with. We understand that some people detained in prison have committed serious crimes. However, we approach our work with a strong sense of humanity, of seeing the humanity in all of us. We also approach our work from the standpoint that people, no matter who they are, should not be defined by the worst thing they have done in their lives. The Inside-Out programme focuses on mutual engagement, learning through dialogue and critical thinking. Inside-Out does not ‘research’ or objectify the inside students who participate in the programme and does not scrutinise their individual offences. All students are known only by a first name or chosen nickname and past offences – of inside or, for that matter, outside students – are not known to the class. Similarly, the Inside-Out Think Tank members that we write with here are serving diverse sentences for diverse offences, but the specifics of those offences are unimportant and not the focus of our work together.
Through a process of working and writing together, the women originally wrote their contributions as part of the ‘World Split Open’ creative writing project discussed in Chapter 6. However, we have continued to work together since, and during that time have been privy to their experiences within, journeys through, and for one of the women, out of the prison system.