Democracy, Power and Governance

In these politically turbulent times, questions about democracy, power and society are frequently raised. How does power work in society? Can we ever achieve equal rights when the power dynamics in society are so skewed?

With the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions in focus, our publishing in this area addresses questions like these from multiple angles, from extensive research into democratic governance and the concept of political power, to the role of power between different nations in foreign policy negotiations

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Democracy, power and governance, we aim to address the following goal: 

Democracy, Power and Governance

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Politics of Peacebuilding in Lebanese Municipalities

How is peace built at the local level?

Covering three Lebanese municipalities with striking sectarian diversity, Saida, Bourj Hammoud and Tyre, this book investigates the ways in which local service delivery, local interactions and vertical relationships matter in building peace. Using the stories and experiences of municipal councillors, employees and civil society actors, it illustrates how local activities and agencies are performed and what it means for local peace in Lebanon.

Through its analysis, the book illustrates what the practice of peacebuilding can look like at the local level and the wider lessons, both practical and theoretical, that can be drawn from it.

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Secretary-General Trygve Lie and the Establishment of the United Nations

This book reviews the formative years of the United Nations (UN) under its first Secretary-General Trygve Lie.

This welcome appraisal shows how the foundations for an expanded secretary-general role were laid during this period, and that Lie’s contribution was greater than has later been acknowledged. The interplay of crisis decision-making, institutional constraints and the individuals involved thus built the foundations for the UN organization we know today.

Addressing important wider questions of IGO creation, governance and autonomy, this is an incisive account of how the UN moved from paper to practice under Lie.

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Displacement, Belonging and the Reconstruction of Somali Cities

This book explores relationships between war, displacement and city-making. Focusing on people seeking refuge in Somali cities after being forced to migrate by violence, environmental shocks or economic pressures, it highlights how these populations are actively transforming urban space.

Using first-hand testimonies and participatory photography by urban in-migrants, the book documents and analyses the micropolitics of urban camp management, evictions and gentrification, and the networked labour of displaced populations that underpins growing urban economies. Central throughout is a critical analysis of how the discursive figure of the ‘internally displaced person’ is co-produced by various actors. The book argues that this label exerts significant power in structuring socio-economic inequalities and the politics of group belonging within different Somali cities connected through protracted histories of conflict-related migration.

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In spring 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, research projects funded by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) were subjected to budget cuts. The cuts were the result of UK government’s decision to reduce its Official Development Assistance (ODA), which had devastating effects for humanitarian, development and research work. This article draws on focus group discussions with project teams working on three large GCRF-funded projects to explore the effects of these cuts. The article documents how the cuts curtailed project aspirations and impact, had a negative toll on the mental health of researchers, and imperilled the trusting relationships upon which international research collaborations are built. The article argues that the cuts expose the shallow commitments to research ethics and equitable partnerships of powerful actors in the UK research ecosystem, including research councils and government. In ‘doing harm’ via these cuts, the article explores the failure of research governance structures and the continued coloniality underpinning the UK’s approach to researching ‘global challenges’.

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Voices from Multicultural Sydney
Author:

We are often told that mean welfare is what the public wants. Whether or not that's true, this book encourages us all to at least be honest about what that entails.

It explores how diverse welfare users navigate the personal and practical hurdles of Australia’s so-called social security system where benefits are deliberately meagre and come with strings attached. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in a region of Sydney known for ethnic diversity and socio-economic disadvantage, Emma Mitchell brings her own experience belonging to a poor family long reliant on welfare to her research.

This book shows the different cultural resources that people bring to welfare encounters with a sensitivity and subtly that are often missing in both sympathetic and cynical accounts of life on welfare.

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The Victim Journey

Throughout the world, vulnerable subjects are being deceived into entering an abusive journey, in the organ trade, exploitative labour business, and forced criminality – and their lives will never be the same.

This book traces the journey of victims/survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking into and within the UK, from recruitment to representation to (re)integration. Using global comparative case studies, it discusses recruitment tactics and demand, prevention in supply chains, issues with effective legal protection and care services, vulnerability to re-trafficking and the ideological misrepresentation of vulnerable migrants and victims/survivors in media, the film industry, legislation, and more.

Rooted in diverse practitioner experience, disciplines and empirical research, this book bridges the experience-research-practice-policy gap by bringing to the fore survivors’ voices. In doing so, it offers crucial suggestions for better public awareness, policies and practices that will impact interventions in the UK and beyond.

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A Differential Framework
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Drawing on insights from differentiation theory, this book examines the participation of middle powers in multilateralism.

Taking Australia, Indonesia and South Korea as examples, the book examines these countries’ roles in regional organizations, and particularly their creation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and East Asia Summit. Through its analysis, the book argues that middle powers pursue a weakening of ‘stratificatory differentiation’, targeted in particular at major powers, and a strengthening of ‘functional differentiation’ in which middle powers can assume key roles.

The book sets out a valuable new framework to explain and understand the behaviour of middle powers in multilateralism.

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From Strategy to Decision

Between 2021 and 2031, the UK government is set to spend over £230 billion on its military. Who decides how to use these funds, and how can we be sure that the UK’s armed forces can meet the threats of tomorrow?

This book provides the answers to these crucial questions. Concentrating on decisions taken below the political level, it uncovers the factors that underpin the translation of strategic direction into military capability. In a series of interviews, over 30 top admirals, generals and air marshals give their own views on the procurement and maintenance of the nation’s current and future military capability. Their unrivalled professional knowledge and experience affords a fascinating insight into the higher management of national defence.

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Young people are often at the forefront of democratic activism, whether self-organised or supported by youth workers and community development professionals. Focusing on youth activism for greater equality, liberty and mutual care – radical democracy – this timely collection explores the movement’s impacts on community organisations and workers. Essays from the Global North and Global South cover the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental activism and the struggles of refugees.

At a time of huge global challenges, youth participation is a dynamic lens through which all community development scholars and participants can rethink their approaches.

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A Practical Handbook for Public Service Organisations
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Why is it hard to know if you are making a difference in public services? What can you do about it?

Public services throughout the world face the challenge of tackling complex issues where multiple factors influence change. This book sets out practical and theoretically robust, tried and tested approaches to understanding and tracking change that any organisation can use to ensure it makes a difference to the people it cares about.

With case studies from health, community, research, international development and social care, this book shows that with the right tools and techniques, public services can track their contribution to social change and become more efficient and effective.

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