Transformational change through public policy


Brought to you by Bristol University Press and Policy Press, the Transforming Society podcast brings you conversations with our authors around social justice and global social challenges. We get to grips with the story their research tells, with a focus on the specific ways in which it could transform society for the better.


In this episode, Oscar Berglund and Elizabeth A. Koebele, Co-Editors of the Policy & Politics journal, talk to Jess Miles about the latest special issue – ‘Transformational change through public policy’.


They discuss what transformational change is, how public policy academia needs to adapt to bring it about and their hope to inspire a new generation of scholars by setting out the structure for a research program.


Read the special issue of Policy & Politics‘Transformational change through public policy’, on Bristol University Press Digital.


Image Credit: Pexels / Daria Shetsova





00:00:03 Jess Miles

The Transforming Society Podcast is brought to you by Bristol University Press and policy press in episodes covering a wide range of social issues. We speak to authors and editors about their books and journals to get to grips with the story, their research tells and look at the specific ways in which it could transform society for the better. These are turbulent times.

00:00:23 Jess Miles

And it’s essential that different areas of research and practice examine ways to address the significant social problems that we.

00:00:29 Jess Miles

Place, with its focus on questions of power, public policy has an essential role to play in this. My name is Jess Miles, and in this episode I’m speaking to Oscar Berglund, lecturer in international, public and social policy at the University of Bristol, and Elizabeth Coberley, associate professor of political science at the University of Nevada.

00:00:49 Jess Miles

Oscar and Elizabeth are Co editors of the policy and politics journal, and we’re here today to talk about the latest special issue, transformational change through public policy.

00:01:00 Jess Miles

The aim of the issue is to ask after half a century of scholarship, what can public policy offer to understand and inform the kind of societal transformations needed both to weather these challenging times and to create better future for all. So the special issue of policy and politics is called transformational.

00:01:19 Jess Miles

Change through public policy. What was your motivation to create it and why do you feel it’s so important?



00:01:28 Oscar Berglund

Well, I think partly things that you covered in your in your introduction and in your question and as opposed to put it bluntly is that that the world’s in a bit of a state at the moment, right? It’s we are facing huge amount of problems, social problems, political problems, economic problems.

00:01:48 Oscar Berglund


00:01:49 Oscar Berglund

And not least on top of this climate change, which we’ll talk about as an example through throughout the special issue. And I mean just looking at at how these issues have kind of advanced in the last few years, obviously we’ve had, you know the pandemic which has affected societies across the world really differently.

00:02:10 Oscar Berglund

And and then you have responses to the. The problems that we see that are not necessarily helpful in terms of policy.

00:02:20 Oscar Berglund

Terms so you know you got a huge amount of kind of what you call democratic backsliding, where, you know, you see kind of increasing authoritarianism in a lot of political systems and and societies around the world and really kind of response with with kind of cultural wars, which is, you know, huge attacks on.

00:02:40 Oscar Berglund

LGBTQ rights, for example, after many decades of kind of going in a more kind of progressive direction, you see a lot of kind of anti anti LGBTQ legislation coming in in various countries.

00:02:55 Oscar Berglund

In the world, obviously anti abortion legislation with you know, what’s happened in, in, in the US and the Supreme Court just recently and really I mean I think the US is a good example of a of a country that is in, in a crisis. It’s a kind of constitutional crisis. And I think for us as a journal it’s.

00:03:15 Oscar Berglund

Interesting moment to get to look more kind of American artists or authors writing for us because they’re experiencing this really new constitutional crisis. And then of course, you have now with, you know, the Russians invasion of UK.

00:03:29 Oscar Berglund

Pain and the cost of living crisis that I think is, you know, partly at least driven by that, but but also by by a range of other factors. That is again huge, causing huge instability across the world, right. I mean, you see scenes on the day were calling yesterday from Sri Lanka.

00:03:50 Oscar Berglund

Where you know, protesters stormed the presidential palace because of the cost of living crisis. So you see this like.

00:03:58 Oscar Berglund

Huge, really deep crisis around the world that are really multidimensional. And as I haven’t talked that much about the climate crisis now. But that’s obviously kind of the overarching crisis that that we in many ways really you know, have to have to grapple with.

00:04:18 Oscar Berglund

And it is like you said, that public policy has has been focused on incremental policy change.

00:04:24 Oscar Berglund

Each and there’s a reason for that and it’s because incremental policy change is what happens normally right policy is kind of change incrementally and we need to be go be much beyond that kind of incremental change. It’s stated very clearly in the International Panel for.

00:04:44 Oscar Berglund

Climate change report, which is, you know, the UN report.

00:04:49 Oscar Berglund

The the the UN organized report, written by by climate scientists that states very clearly that we need transformational policy and and and politics at this time and go beyond incrementalism and change things quickly so as.

00:05:08 Oscar Berglund

As a discipline that has been focused on kind of incremental change.

00:05:13 Oscar Berglund

We need to think about how we can contribute, how our knowledge can contribute to towards more transformational changes. Now obviously we know better than others that policy change alone isn’t going to do that right. Societal change is that is is much bigger than just what you can achieve.

00:05:35 Oscar Berglund

Through through policy change and and we’ll get to talk about that, I’m sure, but that we want to better understand and better investigate what our role as a discipline can be in contributing towards the kind of transformational changes that we need.

00:05:52 Jess Miles

So we’ve got this focus on transformational change. Can you?

00:05:58 Jess Miles

Tell us exactly what you mean by transformational change and explain why this incremental change isn’t enough.

00:06:06 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Sure. Yeah, we.

00:06:09 Elizabeth A. Koebele

We thought about this question a lot when working with our authors through this special issue. We think it’s really important to sort of distinguish between transformational change and policy change.

00:06:20 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Change which Oscar started to do in his response, and I think it it really gets at kind of the core questions that we pose in our introductory piece and and that we ask our our special shout authors to answer throughout the issue. And when we talk about transformational change or transformational societal change where we’re really thinking about kind of the.

00:06:42 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Outcomes or effects.

00:06:44 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And that can be of policy change, but also a host of other things. So for instance, we talk about social movements that may be related to policy change but aren’t necessarily equivalent to policy change. So this is, you know, kind of bigger than the idea is bigger than just public policy.



00:07:04 Elizabeth A. Koebele

One of our special issue authors, Doctor Daniel Nordstadt, said he described transformational change is not simply changing our goals and values, but fundamentally changing the economic, social, political fabric of our society.

00:07:17 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Unity and I thought that was a really nice description and so given all of these different types of problems that are contributing to this instability that Oscar just talked about, we we believe this kind of sector spanning transformational change is really critical and and you know it’s critical for.

00:07:37 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Solving social justice issues. It’s critical for addressing environmental issues. It sort of will will create even worse social justice issues in the future. Those sorts of.

00:07:47 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Things and and as Oscar mentioned, we do focus on kind of the issue of climate change in our special issue introduction because we think it’s a really clear example of where this incremental incremental kind of outcome is not enough. Right. And and I think it’s a good one because it’s a good issue to focus on.

00:08:07 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Because even if we stop emitting carbon right now, we’re still going to see the effects of our historical emissions for 200 years, right? And so thinking kind of incrementally as far as those outcomes, it’s just simply not going to work with the speed that these major societal problems are moving at.



00:08:26 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And and so kind of contrasting or a part of that transformational change is is hopefully policy change and that’s sort of the lens that we look at it through in policy and politics. And as as policy scholars policy change alone is often not.

00:08:46 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Transformational we like to sometimes think about these big, really packed parting transformational changes in public policy. But what we’ve seen empirically and we’ve seen through just kind of observing how politics works, we we see more of those incremental changes.

00:09:06 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And one thing that I think is really cool about this special issue is that it identifies some places where sort of incremental policy changes can accumulate and can foster broader societal change. And I think that’s something that we need to bring to light more. You know, we don’t always need to see these huge path departing policies to get transformational.

00:09:27 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Change. You can sort of think about, OK, what are some incremental policy changes that may foster really broad changes in societal political attitudes and and can bring along transformational change, but sort of balancing the speed at which all this happens is is really critical and really hard to do.

00:09:44 Elizabeth A. Koebele

So yeah, so I guess that kind of just gets it gets us question like as policy scholars, how do we think about kind of the realities of of politics and policy change and how does that square with this?

00:09:55 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Need for really?

00:09:57 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Broad, rapid transformational change at the societal level.

00:10:01 Jess Miles

Yeah, that’s a really helpful explanation of it. So it is that policy change usually is is increment.

00:10:08 Jess Miles

At all. But it seems like you’re saying if you can kind of connect these things and join them up somehow, then it has the potential for this transformational change. So what is it about the field of public policy that can be useful in achieving societal transformations that we that are needed to address big issues like climate change and other things?

00:10:29 Oscar Berglund

So there I’d like to point to to two things. The 1st is our focus on power and in that we share with sort of the broader political science and politics which you know is is about power in all its different shapes and forms and guises because a lot of the.

00:10:49 Oscar Berglund

Suggestions to policy suggestions if you want that comes from across the social and natural sciences and how we can.

00:10:58 Oscar Berglund

We can transform things, ignore power, right? It’s completely ignores the power structures and the way that the world is working that the the actors that are that stand in the way of of, of putting in the.

00:11:17 Oscar Berglund

Kind of reforms that we need if you want and I think an excellent example of that is kind of at looking at looking at climate change specifically, which you know I I teach and.

00:11:29 Oscar Berglund

And research looked about in the climate politics because you have this idea of how to kind of reform our economies right in order to kind of address the climate emergency, right, that, you know, and you get the UN Secretary General talking about, like, we can’t be have have this sort of growth focused economies anymore. And he’s picking up there on things that are mentioned in the kind of IPC.

00:11:52 Oscar Berglund

The report as well, which is, you know, you need some, you can focus on some kind of deep growth or some kind of green New Deal or however you want to conceive of it. But anyway, a massive kind of reshaping of our economies to be able to respond to to the climate emergency in a way that can still kind of satisfy people’s.

00:12:12 Oscar Berglund

Well, direct needs and and and and livelihoods now, that’s great. But you know, there are actual.

00:12:20 Oscar Berglund

Real actors and and and power structures in the way of that. And I think that’s something that we focus on. That is something that we share with sort of sociology and politics as well that look at those, those structures that are in the way of that, but where we come in more is that where some of those approaches are really quite structuralist.

00:12:41 Oscar Berglund

That we do focus on the agency of what we can call a policy entrepreneur, right? So the policy entrepreneur is kind of the key character in a lot of the stories that we tell.

00:12:53 Oscar Berglund

It’s how actors, political actors, and by that I don’t just mean the actors in the whole of power, and we’ll come to come to that as well. But that how how people can can change things, right, so that, you know, a lot of our theoretical models.

00:13:13 Oscar Berglund

Or about the circumstances under which policy entrepreneurs and and and and actors can.

00:13:22 Oscar Berglund

Change can achieve changes, so I think it’s that kind of focus on on the agency within these broader structures where we as public policy scholars have something to contribute.

00:13:35 Oscar Berglund

That is so value.

00:13:36 Jess Miles

So who who are the policy entrepreneurs, the policy actors?

00:13:41 Oscar Berglund

I think that’s that’s a good question and it I think it can be.

00:13:48 Oscar Berglund

Politicians. But it doesn’t have to be politicians, right? So you can in public policy, we often talk about advocacy coalition frameworks, for example, where you know, you get coalitions which will include social movements and NGO’s and and politicians and so on that.

00:14:05 Jess Miles


00:14:07 Oscar Berglund

And you know, and and coalitions, Elizabeth no doubt knows a lot more about this than I do, but but we basically who.

00:14:21 Oscar Berglund

Thing we as as a discipline, we also need to amplify who these audiences are that we speak to and I think we’ll get to that.

00:14:30 Jess Miles

Yeah, yeah.

00:14:33 Jess Miles

You are quite.

00:14:34 Jess Miles

Critical of existing scholarship on transformational change in not being up to the job of tackling some of these major crises. So how does public policy academia need to change? For example, what should public policy academics be studying? Who should they be engaging with? And what about methods?

00:14:53 Jess Miles

As well.

00:14:55 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think this sort of resonates with what I was talking about before that kind of the instances of policy change that we often study as scholars aren’t necessarily transformational on their own. And I think policy scholars.

00:15:15 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Sometimes fail to look at that broader transformative potential of the policy changes that we’re studying. We focus in really narrowly on how policy changes.

00:15:24 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And who drives it? And maybe look at, you know, the the output that’s a piece of legislation or regulation or a court decision or a new plan or something, but we don’t. We often don’t kind of have that eye toward broader transformation or sort of think about how these policy changes can link up with transformation.

00:15:45 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And and and again using kind of the the topical issue that we write about in our introduction, I think the the world of political science broadly, there’s there’s really a surprising dearth of research on climate change.

00:16:00 Elizabeth A. Koebele

As yeah, as someone who you know, I I come from an interdisciplinary kind of environmental studies background and I now work in a political science department and I’m the only public policy scholar in my department, and I feel like, you know, public policy has sort of had this push.

00:16:15 Elizabeth A. Koebele

To look at.

00:16:17 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Issues like climate change a bit more closely, but.

00:16:20 Elizabeth A. Koebele

But like Oscar, I teach a climate change politics and policy class as well, and it’s really surprising that.

00:16:27 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Policy, scholarship and political science more broadly has really taken up this issue and I think in some ways that might be because of our orientation is toward looking at these smaller incremental changes and we kind of shy away from looking at the big long term cumulative effects of of some of these changes.

00:16:44 Jess Miles

Yeah, yeah.

00:16:48 Elizabeth A. Koebele

So I think you know kind of on the other side of that, I think we’re actually as policy scholars, we’re pretty well equipped to do this and that might get at some of the questions about you know, what methods should we be using, who should we be studying, what should we be studying?

00:17:05 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And I think part of the reason we’re we’re well equipped to do this is because public policy scholarship is actually a fairly interdisciplinary field, right. So Oscar mentioned, you know, sharing some theoretical background and ideas with sociology. But I think about in my work, I regularly am on teams with engineers and natural.

00:17:25 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Scientists trying to work together to think about solving problems, so we have this sort of interdisciplinary orientation that I think can.

00:17:32 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Be really helpful.

00:17:34 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Hard transformational change, you know, thinking about OK policy.

00:17:38 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Or institutions or actors. Maybe one part of this, but how might that align with these other parts of systems that that other types of disciplines look at closely? So I think that’s that’s a really important part of of being a policy scholar and how that can contribute to transformational change. I also think that we.

00:17:58 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Do more engaged work than a lot of other disciplines, right? So we’re often, you know, working directly with stakeholders or policymakers and thinking about kind of methodologies, you know, a lot of the articles that policy and politics publish.

00:18:14 Elizabeth A. Koebele

There are articles where there are interviews directly with policymakers or surveys of policymakers, or trying to understand that dynamic between how the public participates in policy making processes with decision makers and, and I think you know, that gives us some really important leverage to think about bringing policy ideas and innovations to fruition.

00:18:35 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Rather than kind of stopping at the theorizing, part of our job as academics.

00:18:41 Elizabeth A. Koebele

So you know, that said, I I do also want to want to say that there unfortunately hasn’t been a lot of incentive for her scholars to do this kind of work in the past, right? Institutionally, you know, and and especially working with stakeholders, it’s really intensive work. It can take a long time, I I.

00:19:02 Elizabeth A. Koebele

I’m so impressed with the the work we read about in the articles we get submitted to us and just.

00:19:07 Elizabeth A. Koebele

That’s how engaged folks are with their communities and policymakers. And so, you know, we’re hoping to kind of inspire scholars with this special issue and reaffirm the value of such work. And even though it can be hard and time consuming and and there aren’t a lot of incentives to do this, really engaged in our disciplinary work. We think that that is.

00:19:27 Elizabeth A. Koebele

A place where we can actually contribute to transformational change.

00:19:30 Jess Miles

Yeah, it feels like the special issue is almost. It’s almost about like lifting policy public policy up so you can get this, like much broader picture and bringing people together in a more coordinated way and and then you connect everything and then you can.

00:19:46 Jess Miles

Helped to make the transformational change. So you talked about inspiring people and this is obviously seeking to inspire a new generation of scholars by setting out this structure for a research program featuring the topics you think are in crucial you think are crucial and in need of urgent progression, including climate change.

00:20:06 Jess Miles

That we’ve mentioned. So thinking about what we’re going to look at through this bigger lens. Can you tell us what these areas are and why they’re important?

00:20:16 Jess Miles


00:20:17 Oscar Berglund

Yeah. So I think we what?

00:20:18 Oscar Berglund

We do in the in the article is that we kind of set for challenges really for for our discipline or public policy that we need to think bigger about as you as you say in order in order to contribute to this. So first we need to ask in a way bigger research questions and so.

00:20:28 Jess Miles

Yeah, yeah.



00:20:39 Oscar Berglund

For example, other people from other social sciences that study, they say that, OK.

00:20:45 Oscar Berglund

So we need to.

00:20:46 Oscar Berglund

Degrowth through Green, New Deal or whatever. And if others say like, OK, well, we need more deliberative democracy, that’s a much better way of making the kind of decisions that that we need to be difficult decisions that we need to be making.

00:21:00 Oscar Berglund

Then we will, you know, also. OK, that sounds nice and great, but you know, OK, how do we get there, right. So, you know, how do we and and those are, you know, some of those are kind of utopian ideas in a way, right, like and and, you know, certainly can feel more utopian some days than others.

00:21:20 Oscar Berglund

But I think that we need to ask those those kind of questions whilst you know also taking it down to the kind of nitty gritty of of of how we get there.

00:21:31 Oscar Berglund

Then you know, we also need to engage with a greater range of actors. So although we do speak to a range of stakeholders, that’s absolutely true. But we have, I think you know, prioritized policymakers as our key actor.

00:21:50 Jess Miles


00:21:50 Oscar Berglund

And I don’t know that that’s actually.

00:21:54 Oscar Berglund

Very. You know, when you look at transformational changes, as they have happened through history and you know the example kind of a lot of climate people drawn and so on come from, you know, when our welfare states were created, for example, I mean that’s where they said they would. Green New Deal comes from right as it talks about those, those kind of new deal.

00:22:12 Jess Miles


00:22:15 Oscar Berglund

Or when you know the NHS was created in in, in the UK or the European welfare states largely around some constant time.

00:22:22 Oscar Berglund

Sort of immediate post war period, then that had a huge social movement component to it, right? I mean, the labour movement was incredibly strong at that time and it kind of gained these kind of.

00:22:33 Oscar Berglund

Questions from from you know, the more powerful powerful actors. So even if you so looking at those historical examples and looking at now, I mean you know this you know again and going back to the UN Secretary General you know pointing to sort of.

00:22:54 Oscar Berglund

Climate activists as key parts of the of.

00:22:56 Oscar Berglund

This story of sort of getting action on on climate change, we think that, you know these actors or social movements particularly or we need to engage with them much more and that kind of links to to next point that is that if we do if those are actors.

00:23:17 Oscar Berglund

That we study then those also need to be actors that we speak to and that’s so that you know our the knowledge that we create will be useful for those actors, so should be useful for actors seeking transformational change whether they are the civil servant.

00:23:33 Oscar Berglund

A politician, an elected politician or, you know, a an activist, and that can also change the kind of questions that we ask as well, because we need to ask them questions that are going to be useful for these these actors to be able to, to enable kind of transformational.

00:23:53 Oscar Berglund

Change that that we all.

00:23:56 Oscar Berglund

And lastly, the you know we need to expand our methodological and theoretical approaches, and this is something that, you know, we as an editorial team, together with Chris Weibel and and Claire Dunlop have wanted to do since since we took over this journal. We’re really committed to expanding methodologically and we we are really methodologically rich journal with you know.

00:24:17 Oscar Berglund

Both kind of more positivist approaches mixed with with more critical interpretivist approaches, so that in itself has a huge value of. You know, being most logical.

00:24:30 Oscar Berglund

Broad, but also theoretically, and here I think we have a lot of so public policy has been quite limited theoretically in that it hasn’t engaged that much with the kind of broader social theorists who maybe are invoked by a lot of other people and other disciplines.

00:24:49 Oscar Berglund

Study transformational change, right? So somebody like bell hooks for example, or Antonio Gramsci. Or like people that are social thinkers that are kind of picked up by various disciplines have maybe not been much, so, so much so in public policy and I think.



00:25:06 Oscar Berglund

I think that there’s more scope to to do that.

00:25:09 Jess Miles


00:25:10 Jess Miles

It feels like a real progressive shift, and it’s a bit like like in social policy, you get more a lot more work now with like service users and things like that, don’t you? It feels like it’s kind of mirroring what’s happening there. Please, can you both give one or two of your personal highlights from the issue and say what you hope people will take away from it?

00:25:32 Jess Miles

More broadly.

00:25:34 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Of course. So I have two, and they’re sort of two very different types of articles, but the first is by Daniel N said I mentioned earlier, kind of his definition of transformational change and he has a piece on disasters as a potential catalyst for transformational change. Short more.

00:25:53 Jess Miles


00:25:54 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Against societies and.

00:25:56 Elizabeth A. Koebele

I think as someone who has has studied disaster politics, we often see a disaster and.

00:26:04 Elizabeth A. Koebele

It flags that something major needs to change in our world, and then we see policy not living up to that. So I think his his piece is really does a really nice job at bringing together kind of all of these concepts from diverse theories in the world of public policy to really.

00:26:13 Jess Miles

Yeah then.

00:26:25 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Kind of diagnosed when disasters may create kind of the potential for transform.

00:26:32 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Change and transformational change in when there might be limits or kind of what those limits are.

00:26:37 Jess Miles

Interesting. It’s often quite shocking, isn’t it, that something awful can happen in the world and you so quickly revert to how things used to be. Exactly, yeah.

00:26:46 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Exactly. Yeah. And I think it’s.

00:26:47 Jess Miles

And then that opportunity is gone, yeah.

00:26:50 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Yeah, exactly. That kind of window of opportunity. That’s a perfect example of a concept from from one of our public policy theories that brought into that how do we capitalize on that? Yeah, so.



00:27:02 Elizabeth A. Koebele

In in kind of a sense is what to take away from that. I think you know, in some ways it’s sort of a, a hopeful piece to me and that we can think harder about.

00:27:10 Elizabeth A. Koebele

What are the?

00:27:10 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Contacts that may actually lead to transformation and sort of work to, I don’t know, create those contexts or, you know, get get other stakeholders thinking about those.

00:27:21 Elizabeth A. Koebele


00:27:23 Elizabeth A. Koebele

And the other piece I I’d really like to highlight is Leah Leveque and her colleagues piece, and it’s called transforming public policy with engaged scholarship Better Together. And the authors use the series of vignettes from across their research programs, which I think is a really interesting kind of.

00:27:43 Elizabeth A. Koebele

I don’t know way to bring together all of these different lessons and and great lessons from different studies and and they are really focused on engaging factors that are often left out of the policy process and they they specifically talk about how this is despite the use of.

00:27:58 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Of participatory mechanisms, and I think that’s really important. A lot of my work is on kind of increasing participation and collaboration governance processes, but we don’t go far enough with that. And I think the this article really suggests you know that we need to think harder about bringing these actors in, in the meaningful way, disrupting.

00:28:21 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Power dynamics that.

00:28:22 Elizabeth A. Koebele

You know kind of constrain maybe the role that they can play in the policy process and and I think it’s a really a really nice example of not only kind of a call for change by policymakers, but a call for change by policy scholars too.

00:28:36 Elizabeth A. Koebele

You know, this piece really speaks to some of these things we’ve been talking about. How do we start the policy process? What issues do?

00:28:43 Elizabeth A. Koebele

We focus on who.

00:28:44 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Who do we study and who do we talk to and talk at in our policy scholarship? And so doing all of these kind of things with a, with a broader eye toward participation and policy, can really help foster.

00:28:56 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Some of that transformational change.

00:28:59 Jess Miles

Hmm. Yeah, Oscar, your highlights.

00:29:02 Oscar Berglund

Yeah, I’d like to highlight an article by Rosanna Bolos, Angelina Perez from Brazil from Sao Paulo.

00:29:11 Oscar Berglund

It’s called the democratic transformation of public policy through community activism in Brazil. And it’s a study about how this favela shantytown outside of Sao Sao Paulo called Paraiso police, managed through the pandemic in a situation where they were kind of largely.

00:29:31 Oscar Berglund

Abandoned by the state.

00:29:34 Oscar Berglund

And where they managed to to organize, you know, focusing on community activism and and deliberative democracy and deliberative environment, where yeah, they managed to to self organize in order to.

00:29:53 Oscar Berglund

Respond to this this public health crisis and and obviously this was in the context of, you know, the sales president wasn’t.

00:30:01 Oscar Berglund

You know the most responsive to to COVID so and and it’s fascinating and you know that was it’s really you know quite positive story. And to me this goes you know much beyond COVID because again going back to the fact that you know I studied climate change and climate change, you have all these people.

00:30:21 Oscar Berglund

And you know, to speak about civilization or collapse and so on. It’s gonna come, you know, as a result of of climate crisis.

00:30:28 Oscar Berglund

This, and I’m always kind of skeptical towards because people talk about it as OK and we just gonna reach the point and then everything will just collapse and you know.

00:30:36 Oscar Berglund


00:30:38 Oscar Berglund

I I don’t think that’s the way that that things will would necessarily happen if we if we fail to act on climate change. Instead, it’s much more likely that there will be.

00:30:48 Oscar Berglund

Increasingly, more pockets of the world that that become in this way about.

00:30:53 Oscar Berglund

And by by their states, and not just by climate change. But I mean, you can then, you know, again, I brought up this example of, you know, Sri Lanka and this storming of the, you know, there’s a lot of states in the world that will will not be strong enough to be able to keep the kind of control that they have over their territories now that they have the kind of.

00:31:14 Oscar Berglund

You have state capacity as opposed to to to govern their territory as as as they do, and I think that will increase, right? We will get more pockets of the world like that. But in this way.

00:31:19 Jess Miles


00:31:26 Oscar Berglund

What happens then isn’t the kind of war of all against all, but it’s actually societies. Communities can self organise, and the lessons that can be drawn from this article, for example, and from many other experiences like this, can be really useful. And we come back to this that you know, public policy isn’t just made.

00:31:47 Oscar Berglund

By by policy actors, right, like by, by elected politicians or by civil servants right in. In these cases, in in the case that in the article by Laura Back.

00:32:00 Oscar Berglund

And colleagues, that Elizabeth was mentioned as well as in this article by our Brazilian colleagues, it’s clear that public policy is made by a bunch of informal actors, and we we know this right. But it’s I think that we can we can speak much more with.

00:32:14 Jess Miles


00:32:20 Oscar Berglund

And to those, those kind of actors and I think that’s this is a really good attempt to do.

00:32:26 Jess Miles

That’s absolutely fascinating. So having read this special issue, if people want to engage or share their own ideas, what can they do? How should they get in touch?

00:32:37 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Sure. Yeah, I really encourage everyone listening to this to to check out the special issue and 1st to read through the articles and then you know, don’t hesitate to engage with us directly by e-mail. You will can e-mail the editors or Twitter’s a wonderful place to engage. We have a really active Twitter follower.

00:32:57 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Following and we will be featuring all of the articles repeatedly from the special issue in our tweets over the next few months.

00:33:07 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Many, if not all, by the time this is published, all the articles will be posted on our early view and we know that our authors are really eager to engage with readers about these ideas. One of the really fun things about this special issue is we’ve been really engaged as an editorial team with the authors through the whole process. We’ve held workshops and kind of had.

00:33:27 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Early conversations with them, it wasn’t simply, you know.

00:33:29 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Just submitting articles sort of haphazardly that we put this together. We tried to make it a really intentional process and I think the authors now are really excited to have these pieces out in the world and to engage with readers about the key ideas in their articles. So we definitely encourage you to to join those conversations on Twitter as you.

00:33:50 Elizabeth A. Koebele

As you read these articles and and I also just wanted to.

00:33:54 Elizabeth A. Koebele

End on the idea that you know if if you are listening to this and you’re researching an area, please definitely consider submitting your best research building on the themes and the special issue to to policy and politics. You know, we’re hoping to continue this conversation forward and we don’t just want to close this off with one special issue, but really like.

00:34:13 Elizabeth A. Koebele

Like you said, just kind of setting a sort of progressive agenda for the journal going forward.

00:34:19 Jess Miles

That’s fantastic. Thank you very much. It feels like it’s a huge opportunity to almost, like, rethink what public policy does and how it does it. And that’s quite exciting, I think. So the Twitter handle for policy and politics journal is policy, under score politics.

00:34:38 Jess Miles

More information about policy and politics, including the editor, contact details and information on how to submit, can be found and information on the special issue itself can be found on Bristol University Press Digital

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Researchpod Let's Talk

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard