Our Politics and International Relations list engages with today’s global challenges and with political change at domestic and international levels. It includes work from across the subdisciplines and reflects the variety of approaches and methods used in political analysis.
Book highlights include the Bristol Studies in East Asian International Relations and Bristol Studies in International Theory series, the Policy & Politics and European Journal of Politics and Gender journals and work from prestigious authors such as Andrew Gamble, Andrew Linklater, Laura Shepherd and Keith Dowding.
Our journals in the area are Policy & Politics, ranked 15th of 49 in Public Administration and celebrated its 50th year in 2022, Global Discourse, the European Journal of Politics and Gender and Global Political Economy.
Politics and International Relations
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Using a data set of 1.1 million speeches drawn from UK House of Commons debates during 1997–2017 and a combination of automated and manual content analysis, this study addresses three interrelated questions. First, to what extent are minoritised women constitutively represented in parliamentary debates? Second, which MPs do so? Third, how do MPs’ race and gender affect how they represent minoritised women? I find that minoritised women are mentioned exceptionally rarely in parliamentary debates. Furthermore, descriptive representatives are not only substantially more likely to mention minoritised women than other MPs, but they also improve the quality of representation by doing so in relation to a wider range of issues. Yet, paradoxically, white men’s descriptive over-representation means that they account for the vast majority of mentions of minoritised women. More broadly, I foreground the distinction between constitutive and substantive representation, highlighting the importance of distinguishing between speaking about and on behalf of.
The concept of ‘women’s interests’ has received a large amount of scholarly attention. In particular, the problematic assumption underpinning this concept – that women share interests – has been an object of much consideration. Yet, while scholarship on the substantive representation of women has today moved free of this assumption, three other assumptions have not been scrutinised to the same degree. These are: (1) that political interests are attached to social groups; (2) that women and men have different interests; and (3) that there are only two genders. This article argues that these three assumptions are problematic for feminist scholarship on substantive representation, which warrants replacing the attached ‘women’s interests’ with an alternative interest: the unattached ‘gender equality interests’. In addition, the article sets forth three distinct ways for future studies to operationalise the substantive representation of gender equality.
This article provides an important international empirical application of the multiple-streams framework with some theoretical additions that make a novel contribution to the existing scholarship in this field. Using a modified multiple-streams approach (MSA) that extends Kingdon’s original agenda setting model to the decision-making stage, we analyse and explain an empirical puzzle in the context of the environmental regulation of coal-fired power plants, considered central to India’s economic development. The puzzle involves both the content – a stringency comparable to those in more developed economies – and the timing – within a year of a new national government coming to power with the promise of reviving economic growth. Our findings show how a top bureaucrat exploited the agenda window opening in the problem stream to couple the three streams, resulting in the notification of draft environmental standards. The political entrepreneurship of the same bureaucrat led to the adoption of final standards in the same form as the draft in the decision window created by developments during the period leading to the Paris climate summit. The operationalisation of the modified MSA to our empirical case generated new theoretical insights. First, we expand on the original formulation of decision stage dynamics and argue that the decision window could also open due to independent activity in any of the three streams. Second, we argue that transnational politics could act as an additional factor in the ripening of the political stream at the decision stage.
Fear and agency are complex, interrelated and gendered phenomena for the madres buscadoras, the women searching for the disappeared in Mexico. These women operate in a context of unrelenting, multisided violence. At the same time, they choose to engage in activism that puts them at heightened risk of violence at the nexus of criminal organisations, state corruption and insecurity. This article investigates how the madres navigate contexts of gendered violence in Veracruz, Mexico, to engage in expressions of complex gendered agency. It makes the argument that we can understand why the fear of violence does not necessarily lead to demobilisation or inaction when we locate their activism within a hierarchy of fears. By recognising that the fear of never knowing about their missing loved ones outweighs the fears of violence that they are exposed to on a day-to-day basis, we gain insight into why they choose ‘fight’, rather than ‘flight’.
This article presents an investigation into the lives and lived experiences of women who joined politics through quotas. In particular, it explores the transformative potential of a quota policy through the ‘subject position’ of women politicians in Nepal, especially those who had no prior background in politics before being elected to their first political positions. Using Bourdieu’s theory of capital, I reveal how political quotas have strengthened women’s overall capital, allowing them to improve their position in both their families and society. Quotas have created new roles for women. The power and prestige attached to these new roles have not only offered some immediate changes to these women’s lives, but also led to changing perceptions of women in politics, shifting the discourse from a view of women’s participation in politics as an exception to one of it as an entitlement. This article is based on a qualitative study carried out with women politicians in Nepal.
Over the past decade, there has been growing interest in the theory and practice of design in the public sector. Service design aims to improve the experience of public services through a human-centred, iterative and collaborative process of creativity and problem solving. However, there is a lack of empirical research on the application of design approaches in public service settings. This article aims to fill that gap, drawing on service research and empirical illustrations to explore what is being designed, how service design is practised, and the implications of service design. By applying ‘design of services’ and ‘designing for service’ perspectives, the focus of design is discussed, along with its implications for design practice and impact. While the analysis suggests an important shift in the practice of design with a focus on services, it proposes that applying design for service may further the potential of design and support deeper transformation. In this way, the article makes a significant contribution to scholarship on policy design, as well as public service delivery.
Articulating the research priorities of government is one mechanism for promoting the production of relevant research to inform policy. This study focuses on the Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) produced and published by government departments in the UK. Through a qualitative study consisting of interviews with 25 researchers, civil servants, intermediaries and research funders, the authors explored the role of ARIs. Using the concept of boundary objects, the paper considers the ways in which ARIs are used and how they are supported by boundary practices and boundary workers, including through engagement opportunities. The paper addresses the following questions: What boundaries do ARIs cross, intended and otherwise? What characteristics of ARIs enable or hinder this boundary-crossing? and What resources, skills, work or conditions are required for this boundary-crossing to work well? We see the ARIs being used as a boundary object across multiple boundaries, with implications for the ways in which the ARIs are crafted and shared. In the application of ARIs in the UK policy context, we see a constant interplay between boundary objects, practices and people all operating within the confines of existing systems and processes. For example, understanding what was meant by a particular ARI sometimes involved ‘decoding’ work as part of the academic-policy engagement process. While ARIs have an important role to play they are no magic bullet. Nor do they tell the whole story of governmental research interests. Optimizing the use of research in policy making requires the galvanisation of a range of mechanisms, including ARIs.
This article argues that, given the centrality of gender for recent processes of autocratisation, it has become imperative to understand and theorise the conditions underpinning democratic resilience against opposition to gender equality. I conceptualise democratic resilience as the outcome of critical actors’ efforts to represent marginalised groups in the face of threats to existing gender equality rights. The case study is Romania’s 2020 ‘gender identity’ bill, which would have prohibited discussion of ‘gender’ within the educational system but was eventually ruled unconstitutional. I identify two key causal mechanisms through which civil society organisations were able to shape this outcome: framing, which emphasised the bill’s non-compliance with democratic norms and constitutional principles; and learning, which prompted a reflection by the two key institutional actors, that is, the president and the Constitutional Court, as to the importance of core democratic principles for politics and society in post-communist Romania.
The industrialisation and modernisation in South Korea that followed the Second World War resulted in rapid progress in economic development, public administration, social service provision and the establishment of modern public policy.
Bringing together outstanding researchers, this book is the first to examine the theory and practice of policy analysis in South Korea (henceforth ‘Korea’). Public policy analysis or the study of government actions with the aim to improve programme and policy outcomes has always occupied a principal place in Korea. This book shares Korea’s experience in public policy analysis, exploring the historical development of policy analysis, and procedures for decision making at different levels of government. T.J. Lah and Thomas R. Klassen have compiled 18 up-to-date chapters that are a major contribution to research and pedagogy as well as valuable reading for specialists, whether they are students, scholars or practitioners. Drawing on case studies, contributors consider the issues and players that affect executive and legislative branch policy analysis, as well as policy design and analysis in the public arena and the shifting role of policy and research institutes, think tanks and post-secondary institutions.
This chapter explains the growth and influence of business associations on policy analysis in Korea through institutional analysis of business associations and an examination of specific policy examples. The analysis focuses on three kinds of business associations. The first is business associations from conglomerates, or chaebols, which includes the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) and Korea Employer’s Federation (KEF). The second is business associations that represent small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The biggest of these is the Korea Federation of SMEs (KBIZ), which has been empowered by policies to support SMES in order to remedy Korea’s excessive dependence on chaebols. The third is business associations from specific industries, which represent specific interests of each industry. This chapter shows the changing nature and role of business associations in the policymaking process over decades.