Controversies in Policy Research.

Juan Mª Prieto Lobato (2013). “The Rain in Spain: the Social Action Third Sector and Government Authorities”, in Stephanie Petrie (ed.): Controversies in Policy Research. Critical Analysis for a New Era of Austerity and Privation. Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp. 179-199.

The interaction between the public and voluntary social action sectors has taken on a special relevance, intensity and expansion in recent decades in complex afluent Western societies while at the same time there has been a double linking process. On the one hand, the Third Sector in general, and in particular the Third Sector connected to social intervention, has become an important player in these societies as a provider of health and welfare goods and services and a transmiter of demands and claims which crystallise community participation and civic commitment. On the other hand, government authorities have opened their doors to the participation of non-profit and profit-making private sectors, changing the direction of public policies, devising mechanisms for co-management of services run by the civil society and articulating measures and governance models for provision of social welfare services.

In a increasingly hostile environment which is dominated by uncertainty, risk and multi-level recession, the social action third sector must reconsider its identity, its role in the socio-political, economic area, and reconstruct the ties that unite it to the community and chich sustain its legitimacy. Societies in countries as Spain need, now more than ever, a strong social action third sector which contributes to generating new conditions which ensure and increase social welfare and the quality of life int the population, especially those afected by diverse types of social exclusion. Read more.

Stephanie Petrie (2013). Controversies in Policy Research. Critical Analysis for a New Era of Austerity and Privation. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

As a result of the impact of neo-liberal economics and the financial crisis on policy development and implementation, economic and social divides are widening and deepening globally. As the causes and consequences of austerity continue to emerge across Europe and internationally, so the key policy impact messages must continue to be told. Under the temes of Justice, Participation and Social Exclusion, contributors to this volume draw on recent examples to explore and discuss the impact of those targeted or excluded by public and social policies in European countries, developed, implemented and evaluated at a time of austerity. Contexts, consequences and controversies current in the global North  are unconvered, highlighting the etical implications for policy research and the role of the academic.

To bear witness and tell the “truth” is a standpoint usually associated with religious philosophies. In these turbulent years in Western democracies, perhaps one critical role for the academic, recast for post-modern times, is to bear witness to the lives of the powerless and tell their “truths”. Citizen involvement in policy development can be potent and not merely tokenistic if knowledge becomes a means by which policies can be challenged by those subject to them. Read more.





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