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01 Oct 2013
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A new series established by Cambridge University Press will promote and disseminate comparative research in public policy. The series will be edited by M. Ramesh, Wu Xun, Associate Professor and Director, Institute of Water Policy, and Michael Howlett, Yong Pung How Chair Professor, from the LKY School.

Understanding policy through a comparative lens yields much about not only what actually constitutes policy and policy making in the 21st century, but where the strengths and weaknesses in contemporary public policy are. Allowing better comprehension of the complex processes that incorporate policy makers, politicians, citizens and private actors in the modern world, it makes for a more sophisticated understanding of what current problems are and what alternative solutions to them might be considered.

No longer confined to internalist and/or positivist evaluations of state(d) aims and objectives, these now embrace critical genealogies of policy discourse; the tracking of policy networks, norms and actors; (global) ethnographies of state, parastate, nonstate policymaking processes; and various forms of transnational, cross-scalar and relational comparativism.

The series meets a growing need for quality publications in public policy studies written from a comparative cross-national or cross-sectoral perspective.

Comparative studies – based on either quantitative empirical or case analysis – afford the opportunity for teasing out the nuances of the policy subject under study and help to draw appropriate conclusions about the robustness of case study, as well as small and large research. Such analyses are recognised by policy analysis in governments, multilateral banks, and universities as being at the heart of tackling many of the world’s most significant problems in areas such as climate change, economic development, education, energy, healthcare and water.


Critical Genealogies of Policy Discourse

Asian countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Singapore have been leading changes in the practices of policy design and innovations in many sectors. Public policy scholarship in this area is growing to meet North American, European and Australasian quality standards and output quantity. The series is particularly timely given the rise of Asia which offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance the field of comparative public policy by including studies and cases from this region which have hitherto taken a back seat to studies of North American and European cases.
As Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell (2010) argue, policies are on the move, and new forms of policy-making and mobility are drawing attention from across the critical social sciences, including analyses of migrating neoliberal governmentalities; explorations of emergent of (internationalising) expertise; and investigations of transnational forms of statecraft and regulatory restructuring. These and other interventions have also been extending the methodological registers of policy analysis.

No longer confined to internalist and/or positivist evaluations of state(d) aims and objectives, these now embrace critical genealogies of policy discourse; the tracking of policy networks, norms and actors; (global) ethnographies of state, parastate, nonstate policymaking processes; and various forms of transnational, cross-scalar and relational comparativism.

The series meets a growing need for quality publications in public policy studies written from a comparative cross-national or cross-sectoral perspective. Monographs and edited volumes in the series will compare policies in one or more policy sectors across institutional settings in order to further understanding of how and why policies diverge and converge over time. They will also compare the development and application of public policy theory across institutional and cultural settings and examine how policy ideas, institutions and practices shape policies and their outcomes.

The series will feature books authored by scholars from many disciplinary orientations including economics, planning, geography, political science, public administration and management, transportation, communication and organisation studies, sociology and anthropology, and resource management.

The series welcomes proposals for new books from established scholars and first-time authors alike. The application deadline is 31 December 2014. For more information, please see Research and Faculty Updates at the LKY School website, link


Melanie Chua is editor and case researcher at the Case Study Unit, LKY School. Her email is decb64_bWVsYW5pZWNodWFAbnVzLmVkdS5zZw==_decb64.

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