I have been reading and thinking about nudging for over four years now and it never stops to amaze me. Many of the readers of this blog will be familiar with the well-known book by Thaler and Sunstein “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness” released in 2009 and winning Richard Thaler a Nobel prize in economics later (of course the prize was given to his oeuvre not limited to just one book). The wave of behaviouralism, a branch of social sciences mostly rooted in economics and psychology that focuses on human behaviour as not just conditioned by rational thinking has become only greater in the last years with prominent economists, psychologists and political scientists embracing this (more…)
With reluctance, I accepted the invitation from a senior colleague at my institute to travel to Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, in July to teach a module within the Masters of Public Administration programme at a satellite institute in Suriname, Lim A Po Institute (FHR). At the time of the invitation, it seemed too easy for me to enjoy traveling to South America instead of putting frantic efforts into earning tenure-track credentials, such as publishing or securing PhD students. The world over there was also unknown, making the trip a little frightening — what is there to be expected from this exotic country? Luckily, I accepted the invitation and was treated to some 10 days of a memorable experience that I now hope would be the first of many more trips to Suriname and the South American continent. (more…)
What is a learning organisation? It is one that adapts to challenges, that has an internal structure that allows communication and reflection, and that hosts individuals that trust each other enough to experiment and work together. A new open access article published in the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, one of the highest ranked journals in the field of Development Studies and Environmental studies, looks into (more…)
A new research article has been published as part of research activities funded by the POWER project (Political and Social Awareness on Water Environmental Challenges). The latest article is titled “Upscaling Urban Recycled Water Schemes: An Analysis of the Presence of Required Governance Conditions in the City of Sabadell (Spain)” and is co-authored by Josep …
If twenty years ago it was a default that democracy is a good system of governance, then the tables have turned. In my class on development practices in 2018/2019 the majority of students, most of whom come from the Global South, did not see democracy as essential to development. In other words, democracy was neither an end nor a means for them when it came to “development”, even defined in broader terms such as subjective well-being. Questions abandoned on what a democracy was and how to know it when you saw one. This concerned the majority of students, there were a few hands here and there still believing in it, the Westerners. This is a remarkable change in attitudes and can also be reflected in the current world affairs. A recent “fresh out of oven” episode of John Oliver on Authoritarianism comes in handy here. I embed it for all you to watch. Enjoy! (more…)
Studying Narratives in Politics
Increasingly stories and narratives are accepted as an important subject of study in politics. Stories bring together facts, emotions, fantasies and hopes. Stories are best to stitch together different ways of knowing, from abstract science to beliefs to practical knowledge from doing things. And stories speak to our imagination; some would even argue that we cannot think beyond stories — a phenomenon Nassim Taleb called “narrativity fallacy” in his best-selling book “Black Swan”. This is basically an idea that we have to connect facts into a story that has cause-effect relationships in it. See for example the famouse Heider and Simmel experiment from social psychology. (more…)
Many expected that Internet would create a democratic arena in governance, help hold governments accountable and increase input from citizens to decision-making in the public sector. The time proved different. We live in the age of fake news, social media determines what we think and if anything, the government now knowns everything about it. But …
The time has come to make this news public — I am starting a new exciting job as an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in September 2018. ISS is located in The Hague although it is part of EUR. My responsibilities will include teaching in “Governance and Development Policy” Major, supervising Ph.D. students, conducting research and research funding acquisition and taking part in university administration. (more…)
In recent decades, adaptive governance has been advocated for meeting the challenges of unpredictable and uncertain dynamics of Social-ecological Systems (SES) (Folke, 2006; Huitema et al., 2009). Scholars ascribe a multitude of virtues to adaptive governance, such as, for example, the preparedness of populations for disturbances associated with climate change (Pahl-Wostl, 2006). Adaptive governance stands …
Next week from Wednesday to Saturday I will attend the WPSA meeting in San Francisco where I present a paper “Policy Translation: a Review of Current Research”. The programme of the conference is very exciting with many interesting panels in three sections of special interest — on public policy, environmental political economy and environmental politics. On Wednesday there is a whole day of workshop on Environmental Political Theory.
This would be my first American conference after a long time (2011) and a first American conference as such. My two other conferences were global that took place in America. So I am also curious to compare the approaches to science, although I do not expect too many differences in this globalised world.
If you are plan to attend WPSA — do get in touch so that we do not miss each other!
In 2017, a double special issue of the Journal of the Southwest was published that celebrated the career of Dr. Helen Ingram (pictured) as a scholar, mentor and colleague. The special issue contains a number of essays written by world-class scholars in the U.S. and around the world and is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject of water policy and politics. Here is a recent review published in Water Alternatives about the Special Issue — a nice starting point to know what to read. (more…)
After a long break, here I am posting again. I hope that the most loyal readers still check the website, but no problem — even those who have forgotten about its existence are likely to come back soon as exciting stuff is going to come online!
I am teaching this semester a course on the social and economic dimensions of sustainability to a group of some 150 students. (more…)
A new chapter on the role of reflexivity, positionality and normativity in using ethnography to study policy translation as a process is now available in the form of proofs. The final version will be published in the book “Translation in World Politics” edited by Tobias Burger and Alejandro Esguerra. (more…)
Dr. Farhad Mukhtarov has been invited to join the flagship publication of the United Nations Environmental Programme — Global Environmental Outlook 6 as a lead author. He will work in a exciting team of scholars and practitioners from all over the world on the chapter called “Policy Effectiveness”. (more…)
Last week has been unprecedented in the history of the Central European University (CEU) — it was reported in the most prestigious media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Financial Times and many others. The reason for such an uproar is the tabled legislation in the Hungarian Parliament which would …
Finally the chapter “Transfer, Diffusion, Adaptation, and Translation of Water Policy Models” in the Oxford Handbook on Water Politics and Policy is out online. The book itself will be printed next year. (more…)
It is hard now for me to pinpoint the moment when I became aware of the work of Edward Said and when it entered my personal and intellectual radars so to speak. (If interested in other posts on Edward Said, please see the post on On Being an Academic and a Public Intellectual and on Edward Said: Last Public Intellectual). Certainly, my first exposure to him was during my year in Oxford when I was trying to figure out who the Said Business School was named after. It turned out that there was another Said, someone who has nothing to do with the Said Business School, but who is a much more interesting man than the benefactor. But then my knowledge of Edward Said was limited by the odd fact I read that he was throwing stones at Israeli tanks somewhere in the Middle East, and at the same time, was an unlikely professor of English Literature at Columbia University. (more…)
Trump’s presidency proves one point – that social constructivism explains the world much better than realism, positivism or whatever. Propaganda, framing of messages, providing false hopes, marketing messages to a desperate constituency — these all proved to be more important than reasons and facts. With this regard, I want to make 2 smaller points clear, as follows (more…)
A new article written by Martin de Jong, Robin Pierce and myself is now out in Environment and Planning A, “Political and ethical aspects in the ethnography of policy translation: Research experiences from Turkey and China”. You can download the author copy here. Abstract A currently burgeoning literature in planning and policy studies engages with …