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Heidrun åm

Heidrun åm argues in her essay that policy studies can learn much from Science and Technology Studies (STS). STS concepts like co-production can help to explicate the mutually reinforcing explanatory power of STS and Critical Policy Studies (CPS) more systematically. ‘Co-production’ in particular can be a necessary reminder for policy analysts of the role of matter in the midst of discourse. åm shows the value of applying a co-productionist perspective together with a poststructuralist policy analysis along a study of voluntary nanotechnology regulations. These were adopted in a context of uncertainty, when little evidence of risks in nanomaterials was available. While a strong demand to pre-empt public resistance might have been a driver for developing nanotechnology regulations, regulations’ particular form can only be explained by taking into account nanotechnology’s ambiguity. Thus, the technology itself was an important element in the co-production of existing nanotechnology regulations.

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Darja Reuschke, Colin Mason, Stephen Syrett and Maarten van Ham

This introductory chapter discusses the rationale for connecting entrepreneurship with neighbourhoods and homes, presents the objectives and key questions of this volume and provides an overview of the book chapters. Major economic and societal changes that have led to an increase in micro businesses and non-farm self-employment are outlined and literatures and concepts in entrepreneurship research and urban and neighbourhood studies that are useful for understanding these changes discussed. The chapter highlights the home as entrepreneurial space and the household as unit of analysis for entrepreneurship studies. It argues that cities are places of small-scale businesses of all sorts, including home-based or mobile online businesses, that they accommodate a considerable self-employed workforce and that therefore scholars, policymakers and practitioners have to look beyond central business districts, high streets and designated business areas to detect and promote entrepreneurship in cities.

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Debbie Kasper

In response to conclusions that a continuation of ‘business as usual’ will lead to pervasive negative socio-ecological impacts, growing numbers of researchers are calling for proactive transitions in economic, political, and energy systems. Missing, however, is a clear sense of how to effect such changes. Among the obstacles to more intentional societal change are a dominant paradigm that prioritizes individual behavior and the role of consumerism in addressing urgent environmental problems, and the absence of a general theory of how social life, and thus social change, works. Social practice theories have emerged as an antidote to the first problem, but without an organizing theory of social practice they have not been well integrated into socio-ecological research and policy. Here, I discuss figurational theory and its value as a general social theory at a high level of synthesis. Contextualizing social practice theories within this larger theoretical framework, I argue, renders them more practice-able and generates new possibilities for social practice research to inform transition efforts.

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Hemant R. Ojha, Mani R. Banjade and Krishna K. Shrestha

This chapter outlines a Critical Action Research (CAR) approach to enhance the interplay between research and social movement practices. The authors argue that such interplay is crucial to improve the quality of democratic policy process. Such interplay has the potential to address some of the concerns related to the continued lack of effective deliberation in the policy processes. Drawing on three cases from Nepal, India and Australia, the authors demonstrate that four aspects are crucial: (1) how critical researchers and social actors interact, (2) use of action as a basis of learning and a moral pursuit, (3) interactive learning (dialectical epistemology) and (4) multi-scalar engagement. They conclude that there is enormous scope for revitalizing democratic empowerment in the participatory policy process by strengthening the ways researchers interact with communities and policy actors, across scales, and by balancing epistemic and action objectives in the specific context of application.

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Vincent Dubois

Based on a comprehensive review of the various orientations of policy ethnography, this chapter illustrates four defining features of critical policy ethnography: challenging mainstream positivist approaches to public policy; confronting commonsense and official views on policy; setting individual experiences and micro-observations in the broader perspective of power and inequality structures; and unveiling social, economic, symbolic and political domination processes operating in and through policy processes.

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Ngai-Ling Sum and Bob Jessop

This chapter introduces cultural political economy as one among several approaches that explore the interconnected semiotic and structural aspects of social life. The CPE approach belongs in the camp of ‘grand theories’ that, inter alia, offers a preliminary set of basic and sensitizing concepts and positive guidelines that are relevant to historical description, hermeneutic interpretation, and causal explanation. It combines critical, historically sensitive, semiotic analyses with concepts from heterodox evolutionary and institutional political economy. It aims thereby to overcome the often compartmentalized analysis of semiosis/culture and structuration/institutions by integrating semiosis into political economy and applying evolutionary and institutional analyses to semiosis. This has important implications for understanding the limits of constructivist and structuralist analyses; lived experience and lesson-drawing; the relations among polity, politics and policy; and specific fields of public policy. Each of these themes is explored in appropriate detail. Finally, by combining specific concepts and analyses bearing on semiosis and structuration, CPE can also provide the basis for critiques of ideology and domination. This offers more solid foundations to understand ideology and ideological effects as well as forms of social domination and contributing thereby to critical policy studies.

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Fei Guo and Robyn R. Iredale

China’s internal migration is often compared to international migration in the sense that internal migrants are subject to substantial institutional constraints similar to crossing national boundaries. In addition, the identity adaptation and formation process of China’s rural–urban migrants shares many similarities with that of international migrants. By including studies of both internal and international migrations in one volume, it is hoped that more accessible references could be made available in one place to readers who are not only interested in China’s internal migration and international migration but also appreciate their comparative aspects. The conclusion summarizes the major trends and looks ahead to emerging issues. Internally, we can expect significant institutional changes that will affect the scale, directions and impacts of migration. These changes have the potential to improve the status, livelihood and wellbeing of migrants. Rural left-behind village communities stand to make considerable gains as more efforts are directed at loosening the institutional regulations that are holding back agricultural development. Tapping the potential development impacts of internal migrants returning to villages will lead to major improvements in rural areas. Internationally the relationship between China and its diasporas has already changed and intensified so that mainland-centred Chinese modernity exploits the diasporas for ‘capitalist knowledge and mutual self-interest in pursuit of global superpower status’ (Ang 2013, p. 29). If just a small proportion of overseas Chinese participate in this partnership, as appears to be the case, China will continue to grow and flourish economically. How this translates into political transformation is difficult to predict.

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Ricardo Fabrino Mendonça and Selen A. Ercan

This chapter argues that deliberative democracy is not antithetical to conflicts and agonism generated by protests. In fact, protests are understood as an integral part of public deliberation, especially when the latter is understood in terms of a broad public conversation that occurs in multiple sites of communication. In order to develop this argument, the chapter discusses the deliberative dimension of recent demonstrations in Turkey and in Brazil, exploring (1) the way they were organized; (2) how they were carried out; and (3) their public consequences. In doing so, the chapter contributes to the field of policy studies by showing that there is much more to deliberative policy making than what happens in structured forums, and by arguing that a deliberative turn in politics will not lead to a tamed society that either avoids or suppresses its intrinsic conflicts.

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Franz Flögel and Stefan Gärtner

This chapter approaches deprived neighbourhoods as a resource for business activities. It develops the concept of ‘spatial enterprise’ based on non-traditional entrepreneurial concepts that do not incorporate space (for example, the social enterprise concept). It discusses whether, and in which ways, underused spaces are an important resource for the success of enterprises in deprived urban neighbourhoods. The formation, development and impact of enterprises in deprived neighbourhoods in two German cities are investigated. The eight case studies show that insufficiently used spatial resources, for example an abandoned church, are important for the formation and success of enterprises in these areas. Place-based networks are relevant in most, but not all, cases. Social impact in the neighbourhoods was created by the acquisition and re-use of vacant buildings, the organisation of cultural events, the supply of services for specific local demands, or support for socially disadvantaged people. The chapter concludes that spatial enterprises help improve and stabilise deprived neighbourhoods, because they can gain advantages from apparently disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and these enterprises create social impact in deprived neighbourhoods in return.

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Zhiming Cheng, Ingrid Nielsen and Russell Smyth

This study has three purposes. The first is to examine the determinants of wage arrears among rural–urban migrants in China. The second is to examine the effect of wage arrears on economic wellbeing as proxied by wages. The third is to examine how experiencing wage arrears affects several subjective indicators of wellbeing, such as feelings of belongingness and discrimination in the city. To examine the determinants of wage arrears and its implications for socio-economic wellbeing, we employ pooled data from a unique representative dataset collected in Guangdong province, one of the major destinations for migrants in China, for the years 2006, 2008 and 2009. We find that in 2006 9 per cent of the sample reported wage arrears and that this figure fell to 6 per cent in 2008 and 7 per cent in 2009. Males were more likely to experience wage arrears as were those working for private firms and micro-entrepreneurs, relative to those working for government agencies. Those with a labour contract, those who were a member of a trade union and those who had a trade union in the workplace were less likely to experience wage arrears. Those experiencing wage arrears received 3.8 per cent higher monthly wages, were 11.4 per cent more likely to perceive that life was difficult in the city, were 6.8 per cent more likely to perceive that their status was lower than others in the city and were 5.6 per cent more likely to believe life would be easier with a non-agricultural household registration.