Donovan, Claire Angela
Using the UK Social Science Research Council (SSRC)lEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)l as a case study, this thesis tests the hypothesis that government funding of social science research has altered research directions. Academics often assume a causal link between government policy, ESRC-funded research and research directions but no adequate evidence has been presented to support this claim. As a senior ESRC figure puts it, 'Most of the people who say these things, even though they are social scientists, speak without looking at very simple .... evidence that's publicly available.' This research examines this evidence in detail and draws upon extensive interviews with ESRC figures. Various governments have viewed social science as either the equivalent of, or inferior to, natural science. The ESRC has been caught in the middle of this conceptual and ideological battle. An understanding of the history of social science in the UK Research Council system, and of the development of the disciplines of sociology and economics in particular, is crucial in revealing how the Left and Right have confronted the idea of a 'science of society' and the impact, if any, upon social science research via the ESRC. This thesis concludes that there is no evidence that government policy has deliberately been filtered through the ESRC in order to direct the social science research effort. There have, however, been indirect consequences of government funding social SCIence through the Research Council system. An ex-ESRC Secretary explains that governments do not understand what social science is so they support 'social science that makes sense to natural scientists', which is 'social science in the service of natural science and technology'. Through fear of budget cuts the ESRC never sought to correct this image and has more recently strategically promoted this brand of social science to its advantage. This has led to a picture of the ESRC as positivistic and directive but, as an ex-committee secretary says, this is 'more apparent than real'. A closer examination of the ESRC's relationships with government, its research priorities and the secretariat's dealings with academics reveals a very different day-to-day picture.
Networks of Influence : Evaluating a Fiscal Reform E-Government Project in Sri Lanka From An Actor-Network PerspectiveStanforth, Carolyne Mary January 2009 (has links)
This thesis is focussed on an interpretive evaluation study of a large and complex e-government project that was intended to further the achievement of improved governance in the management of public sector funds in Sri Lanka and was actively supported by one of the international financing institutions. Why is this important? The learning lies not so much in establishing 'the facts' of the matter - the processes through which the project initially failed and then later succeeded in meeting its performance targets - but rather in facilitating the building of a shared view of these processes that will inform the design and implementation of future e-govemment projects. The conclusion is reached that the concept of' good governance' in financial management that was held by the international financing institution at the time of the research exercise was inadequately supported by the available e-govemment project design and implementation tools. An integrated information system was deemed to be necessary for fiscal accountability and transparency. Yet an international 'best practice' model was rejected as inappropriate during the process of localisation in the Sri Lankan Ministry of Finance. Improved governance was eventually achieved - but through local information systems improvisations. This process study employs three complementary analytical frameworks from Actor- Network Theory that have rarely been applied together. A synergy is created that is able to exploit the interpretive powers of the theory, with the whole of the analyses being greater than its constituent parts. As such, this is a potential model for future qualitative evaluation studies of information systems projects.
Public policy making in the transition economies of the Western Balkans : The role of policy actors and coalitionsThomas, Margo Tessa January 2010 (has links)
In the rapidly globalizing world with increasingly democratic systems of government, public policies are being developed to address the challenges of achieving and maintaining political stability while promoting economic growth to assure national security, the social and economic well being of citizens and sustainable environments for future generations. However, as noted by some thinkers, the process of making policies to achieve these fundamental goals constitutes a series of informal and formal bargains negotiated among political actors and policy elites as constituencies and coalitions to support policy reforms are constantly evolving. The objectives of this thesis are to examine the factors driving public policy choice and implementation, focusing on the role of policy makers, in order to better understand policy making in developing and transition economies and to contribute to the strengthening of policy making to these economies. In broad terms the research looks at the role of the state and the policy maker in a state-centred approach to governance and policy making. In particular, the research applies the stages heuristic and theoretical adaptation of the Advocacy coalition framework to examine specific instances of public policy making in the economies in the Western Balkans. The research applies a mixed-methods research approach including a survey of policy makers and case studies of specific reform episodes related to economic growth and the enabling environment for private capital as an important pillar for economic growth. The findings of the research supports the conclusion of Grindle and Thomas (1991) that policy elites are critical in shaping reform agendas and since they play critical roles in defining not only the content of policies but also the timing and pace of reform and the ultimate implementation of the reforms by managing the political economy and marshaling resources for implementation. The research supports Sabatier's view (1991) that the opinions of policy elites matter in public policy making. Therefore the analysis should focus on policy elites and the factors that affect their core beliefs over time. In the case of the Western Balkans, the policy inputs from the relatively weak private sector and the poorly-resourced civil society, combined with the legacy of a communist, state-controlled approach to top-down, autocratic policy making provides the basis for supporting the finding that policy networks, consistent with the definition of Rhodes (2007) among others, apparently do not exist in these transition economies of the Western Balkans. However, it is clear that formal and informal coalitions exist in the Western Balkan. They are formed to respond to particular policy issues and depending on the specific sector these policy coalitions may be more robust or better resourced. More research is necessary to understand the informal interests and coalitions that operate on the political level. Finally, the study concludes that policy making occurs in a highly political environment that is critical for effective policy making and successful policy reform in developing and transition economies.
New Labour's immigration policy : the audience, the 'other' and the institutionalisation of policy feedbackMulvey, Gareth January 2009 (has links)
This thesis combines public policy approaches to the study of policy development with theories of migration and applies them to analysis of New Labour immigration policy between 1997 and 2007. In particular the thesis engages with the insights of Lowi and Pierson in examining the degree to which immigration policy can be seen to have made immigration politics, and then to relate such insights to the feedback effects of that politics impacting on future policy. Through the analysis of four Acts of Parliament and the debate around those Acts, it is argued that a dual policy was created, with the quiet encouragement of wanted migrants accompanied by a hostile discourse related to the unwanted, particularly asylum seekers. This is shown to have created an immigration politics in which hostility has been institutionalised and has expanded beyond those initially identified as unwanted to include other categories of migrants. This, it is argued, has implications for the Government's future aims with regard to the wanted migrants, but also for the lives of those migrants who live in Britain.
Many scholars celebrate the emancipatory potential of alter-globalisation networks. This thesis tests this claim, using a case study of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), and analysing what the powers which constitute this network reveal about the powers 0/ it. GCAP is one of the largest networks of its type, mobilising nearly 175 million people on a single day in 2009 via national coalitions of civil society organisations in 115 countries. The PhD research focuses on two of these national coalitions in India and Malawi, as well as GCAP's broad governance structures, and utilises semi-structured and ethnographic interviews, participant observation and documentary analysis. The data was analysed through a methodological frame of governmentality and post-governmentality literatures, to analyse the full range of discourses and agencies which construct GCAP. The thesis interrogates the agency of GCAP through an exploration of three power-related themes, namely: the relationships GCAP enacts with processes of statist and neo-liberal hegemony; how GCAP develops relations of solidarity across distance; and the manner in which GCAP constructs subjects of legitimation. The thesis finds that GCAP embodies a monitored subjectivity vis-A-vis statist and neo-Iiberal hegemonic power, yet also retains a monitory agency on those powers. It furthermore finds that relations of solidarity developed in GCAP between areas of structural advantage and disadvantage are imbued with both colonial and postcolonial discourses, which simuhaneously buttress and contest neoliberal discourses of managerialism, resource-dependency and the fetisbisation of 'the poor'. These different sets of relations construct GCAP with a contingent, contradictory, yet at times emancipatory and transcendent subjectivity. By creating a snapshot of an alterglobalisation network in diverse social contexts, this thesis reveals the ways in which the power of such networks is uneven and immanent, dependent upon confluences of the various internal and external powers which constitute them
There has been much discussion in recent years over the possible disengagement of citizens from the political institutions of the European Union. Many academics contend that this is due to the fact that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit and that the EU is perceived as a project made by and for the political elite. The European Commission is at the heart of the EU system and it has been studied more than any other EU institution. However, it is still difficult to understand how the Commission operates within the demanding and turbulent EU polity. Organisation and public policy studies provide useful theoretical insights for the understanding of decision-making and information processing in organisations. Drawing upon European Commission studies, and policy-making and organisational studies, this thesis seeks to contribute to the understanding of the Commission's modus operandi by providing an in depth analysis of policy-making activities within the Commission from an information processing perspective. The originality of this thesis is that it examines the Commission, not only as a policy-making organism, but also as a dynamic information-processing organism. The examination of information processing begins with critical examination of the Commission institutional framework as depicted in its Manual of Operational Procedures (MOP). In addition, three specific EU policies are investigated: a non-regulatory policy, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative; a regulatory policy, the toys safety Directive (TSD), and an Open-Method of Coordination policy, innovation policy. Analysis of information processing within the Commission policy making leads to the development of a new explanatory framework, the Politico-Rational Explanatory Framework (PREF). This thesis shows that while Commission rules and procedures can partially explain policy-making and information processing within the Commission, it is the political processes that condition and determine how the Commission processes information. 13
El-Khatib, M. F.
No description available.
Richter, Fabian Felix
The thesis compares national perspectives on the legitimacy of the European Union. It develops a definition of legitimacy as a dual concept. Formal legitimacy describes the constitutional nature of a political system, whereas felt legitimacy is defined as the aggregate citizen beliefs about the legitimacy of their political system. Legitimacy is important for the EU because it is a necessary condition for its efficacy and long-term stability. The EU's need for legitimacy also increases in proportion to the degree of integration. The legitimacy of the EU is unusual in that it varies among the member state from whose perspective it is evaluated. That is because the EU's legitimacy is contingent on the constitutional structure and national identity of its member states. An empirical analysis of the legitimacy of the EU from the perspective of Britain and Germany reveals that the EU suffers from a legitimacy deficit relative to the British and German political systems. The nature and severity of the deficit depend on country-specific factors, but the single most significant cause from both countries' perspective is the lack of a European identity. Europeans do not regard themselves as one political community, and they feel limited attachment or trust towards each other. This diagnosis implies that the legitimacy deficit can only be remedied either by creating a European identity or by reducing the need for its creation. The legitimising potential of these two strategies differs between Britain and Germany, reflecting country-specific variations in their perspective on the legitimacy deficit of the EU. While the legitimacy deficit can in principle be resolved, the varying effectiveness of these two strategies, and the reluctance of political decision-makers in the EU to pursue either strategy, make an effective resolution of the legitimacy deficit unlikely to occur in the forseable future.
Low turnout is a growing concern among the industrial democracies. Compulsory voting has achieved very high turnouts in several countries, but it has been mostly neglected as a solution to the problem of low turnout elsewhere. This thesis considers the usefulness of compulsory voting for industrial democracies. I argue that, for it to be useful, compulsory voting must be effective on two levels. First, compulsory voting must be effective in increasing turnout. Second, the high turnout resulting from compulsory voting must improve the total utility of the people-defined here as the well-being of the people-otherwise compulsory voting will not ultimately be useful. Rational choice models are constructed and operationalised in order to describe, explain and evaluate compulsory voting. Although data analysis is undertaken for a range of industrial democracies in order to test these rational choice hypotheses, the major focus of this research is on Australia, which has achieved very high turnout levels (around 95% of the registered voters) since the introduction of compulsory voting for federal elections in 1924. Furthermore, by examining the case of Australia, this thesis determines the conditions and necessary adjustments for compulsory voting to work effectively in practice. Finally, compulsory voting is tested with rational choice theory and data analysis on the actual industrial democracies in order to see whether this system is applicable under globally varying conditions. The conclusion of the analysis is that compulsory voting seems to be useful for several industrial democracies in theory and also seems to be workable in practice. However, some subjective judgement needs to be introduced for a full cost-benefit analysis to be made about compulsory voting.
The process of individual identity formation is still an enigma, as is the capacity of public bodies to intervene in it. This thesis is the first to take a step in this direction. Using individual data from the World Value Survey, the second chapter presents several findings on the relationship between national sentiment and ethnic diversity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence of a lower intensity of national sentiment in more ethnically fragmented countries or in minority groups. National feelings in a minority can be higher or lower than in a majority, depending on the degree of ethnic diversity of a country. On the one hand, in countries with high ethnic polarization, minorities have weaker national sentiments than majorities; on the other hand, in countries with low ethnic polarization, the reverse is true. We then develop a model of national identity formation that is consistent with the facts presented in the empirical section. As a second step, using survey data from Catalonia, we estimate the impact on identity of the 1983 educational reform, by which the education system became bilingual, and Catalan, together with Spanish, was taught in schools. Using within and between cohort variation in exposure to the Catalan language at school, the results show that individuals who have experienced greater exposure to teaching in Catalan are more likely to say that they feel more Catalan than Spanish. In the subsequent chapter, we study the effect of the Catalan reform on political behaviour. We find that the change in the educational system stimulated turnout and changed the political choices of the agents.
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