Archive for July, 2013

“Genre Blurring” and Political Science: What Can We Learn from the Humanities?

I delivered the Inaugural Public Policy Annual Lecture at De Montfort University, 8th May 2013.

DE Montfort 2


British political science actively seeks greater professionalization. There is clear evidence of both institutionalization and specialization. This drive to professionalization now confronts the challenge of  blurred genres. Blurring genres involves drawing analogies and metaphors from the humanities. These analogies include the notions of game, drama, and text. I am claiming an ‘intellectual poaching  license’ for political scientists to hunt among the humanities. I have chosen two approaches that have great potential; the new political history and interpretive anthropology. In each case, after a broad  characterization of the approach, I proceed by discussing specific examples of craftsmanship. For the new political history, I examine the work of Maurice Cowling and Philip Williamson. For  interpretive anthropology, I examine the work of Emma Crewe and Cris Shore. Finally, I discuss how the general arguments of this paper apply to political science. My hunt suggests we focus on:  meanings, the symbolic, the local, the actual, the overlooked, the hidden, the inaccessible, the inconspicuous, and the ambiguous. In a phrase, I argue for the study of politics from below; for the intersection of ‘High Politics’ and ‘Low Politics’. (© 2013 R. A. W. Rhodes. Draft. Not for citation)

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies

I attended a meeting of the Global Governance Club at the National Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Science (NIAS), Wassenaar,  on the  30th and 31st May 2013.  I gave the keynote address on ‘Inside the Black Box of Executive Governance: high politics, low politics and the missing link’.  The weather was so good that we could have our group meetings on the lawn.


Copenhagen Business School

I delivered a keynote address on Civil Service Reform to the Copenhagen Business School, Public-Private Platform, Collaboratory on ‘Policy into Practices’, University of Copenhagen, 23rd and 24th of May 2013. The photograph shows me with the organizers of the Collaboratory.
For a full account of the event see:

Report on collaboratory