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First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this updated volume explores policy failures and the valuable opportunities for learning that they offer.

Policy successes and failures offer important lessons for public officials, but often they do not learn from these experiences. The studies in this volume investigate this broken link. The book defines policy learning and failure and organises the main studies in these fields along the key dimensions of processes, products and analytical levels. Drawing together a range of experts in the field, the volume sketches a research agenda linking policy scholars with policy practice.

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Meanings, politics and practices

The idea of policy is ripe for critical reappraisal. Whilst the context for policy making changes constantly, multiple questions endure, such as how policy is conceived and why; what is taken for granted and what gets problematised; and how policy should be informed, analysed and understood.

This book identifies key topics within the policy arena and subjects them to theoretical and practical analysis. It explores the meaning and framing of policy, and examines its practice from the micro- to the supra-national levels, using illustrative case studies to demonstrate how policy is contested, shaped and accounted for. Given the significance of policy as a means to organise and direct social, economic and political life, this book presents the case for a critical restatement of its origins, development and form - without which we risk being caught up in a cycle of change without understanding why or how.

The book presents a productive encounter between the three themes of meanings, politics and practices, themes normally not brought together in a single text. It emphasizes the multiplicity of perspectives that can be directed towards understanding the policy world, opening up new ground as well as visiting anew some familiar terrain. Targeted at upper undergraduate and postgraduate students and their teachers, it will also be of interest to researchers and policy actors wanting insight to their project.

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Towards a politics of translation and assemblage

Responding to increasing interest in the movement of policies between places, sites and settings, this timely book presents a critical alternative to approaches centred on ideas of policy transfer, dissemination or learning. Written by key people in the field, it argues that treating policy’s movement as an active process of ‘translation’, in which policies are interpreted, inflected and re-worked as they change location, is of critical importance for studying policy. The book provides an exciting and accessible analytical and methodological foundation for examining policy in this way and will be a valuable resource for those studying policy processes at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Mixing collectively written chapters with individual case studies of policies and practices, the book provides a powerful and productive introduction to rethinking policy studies through translation. It ends with a commitment to the possibilities of thinking and doing ‘policy otherwise’.

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Reflections on Contemporary Debates in Policy Studies
Editor: Sarah Ayres

In recent years the nature of policy and politics has witnessed significant transformations. These have challenged perceptions about the ways in which policy is studied, designed, delivered and appraised. This book –the first in the New Perspectives in Policy and Politics series - brings together world-leading scholars to reflect on the implications of some of these developments for the field of policy studies and the world of practice.

First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, the book offers critical reflections on the recent history and future direction of policy studies. It advances the debate by rethinking the ways in which scholars and students of policy studies can (re)engage with pertinent issues in pursuit of both scholarly excellence and practical solutions to global policy problems.

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Policy Analysis in the Czech Republic is a vital addition to the International Library of Policy Analysis series. It is not only the first comprehensive overview of the historical development and current state of policy analysis in the Czech Republic, but also in the post-communist Central and Eastern European region. As such, it provides a unique picture of policy analysis that in many respects profoundly differs from 'Western' policy analysis textbooks. Written by leading experts in the field – including practitioners – it outlines the historical development of policy analysis, identifies its role in academic education and research, and examines its varying styles and methods. This unique book offers indispensable reading for researchers, policy makers and students.

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Embodied, inscribed, enacted

This important collection presents a radical reconception of the place of knowledge in contemporary policymaking in Europe, based not on assumptions about evidence, expertise or experience but on the different forms that knowledge takes.

Knowledge is embodied in people, inscribed in documents and instruments, and enacted in specific circumstances. Empirical case studies of health and education policy in different national and international contexts demonstrate the essential interdependence of different forms and phases of knowledge. They illustrate the ways in which knowledge is mobilised and resisted, and draw attention to key problems in the processing and transformation of knowledge in policy work.

This novel theoretical framework offers real benefits for policymakers, academics in public policy, public administration, management studies, sociology, education, public health and social work, and those with a practical interest in education and health and related fields of public policy.

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New perspectives on the ‘not-so-big society’

Drawing on a wide array of policy domains and events, this book provides an innovative account of social control and behaviourism within welfare systems and social policies, and the implications for disadvantaged groups.

This accessible collection reviews the controls, assumptions and persuasions applied to individuals and households and explores broader themes, including how ‘new behaviourism’ was consolidated during the New Labour and Cameron periods.

Social policy and social control offers timely engagements with key issues for researchers and policy makers, and is relevant for students in social policy, sociology, socio-legal studies, social work and social care, disability studies, human geography, politics and public policy, and gender, family and life course studies.

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Critical perspectives in health and social care
Editor: Jon Glasby

This edited book provides a hard-hitting and deliberately provocative overview of the relationship between evidence, policy and practice, how policy is implemented and how research can and should influence the policy process. It critiques the notion of ‘evidence-based practice’, suggesting instead a more inclusive idea of ‘knowledge-base practice’, based in part on the lived experience of service users. It will be of interest to everyone in health and social care policy, practice and research.

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Local labour market analysis and gender equality
Editor: Sue Yeandle

Why is it so difficult to turn girls’ success at school into success in the labour market? How does detailed evidence about women’s engagement with local labour markets affect the ‘preference theory’ debate? Why is part-time employment such a popular but economically damaging choice for women? What barriers still limit women’s horizons and narrow their aspirations?

Using a new and original approach, this illuminating book explores women’s employment at the start of the 21st century, in particular identifying aspects of women’s labour market situation which remain poorly understood and challenging much ‘received wisdom’ about women and work. The contributors examine pervasive myths about women in employment which have influenced policy and explore a number of theoretical puzzles and problems which persist despite attempts to tackle them.

“Policy for a change” will be essential reading for professionals, employers and trade unions working in human resources, regeneration, equalities and diversity, anti-poverty, skills and training, as well as for researchers, teachers and students in sociology, social and public policy, labour market economics, urban studies and management.

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Complexity, Governance and the State

For nation-states, the contexts for developing and implementing policy have become more complex and demanding. Yet policy studies have not fully responded to the challenges and opportunities represented by these developments. Governance literature has drawn attention to a globalising and network-based policy world, but politics and the role of the state have been de-emphasised.

This book addresses this imbalance by reconsidering traditional policy-analytic concepts, and re-developing and extending new ones, in a melded approach defined as systemic institutionalism. This links policy with governance and the state and suggests how real-world issues might be substantively addressed.

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