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Latest news from the desk of Rod Rhodes

The Craft of Governing

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With Glyn Davis (Melbourne), I organized and ran a workshop for Professor Patrick Weller to celebrate his impending formal retirement on his 70th birthday. The papers will be revised and published as a festschrift by Allen & Unwin. There were good papers, lively discussion and an amiable atmosphere captured by this photograph. For more information go to:


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

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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 Not for citation)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

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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

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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

The 2012 ISRPM and Routledge Prize

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I have just been awarded the International Research  Society for Public Management and Routledge prize for 2012. It  is awarded to “someone who has made a substantial contribution to public management research” (see:

The citation reads:

“Rod Rhodes is no doubt not only one of the most well-known public administration scholars but also someone who has renewed his research and research topics throughout his life. A prominent scholar in network theory in the eighties and nineties, but also an interesting observant of the changes in administrative life after that (see for instance: his work with Mark Bevir) and always good for an interesting provocative debate at conferences and seminars. Truly a remarkable and significant scholar in the field”.


It was presented in Prague on 11th April 2013.

Previous winners include Christopher Hood, Christopher Pollitt, and Fritz Scharpf.

40th Anniversary of Policy & Politics, Conference, Bristol, 2012

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I delivered a paper on ‘Political anthropology and public policy: prospects and limits’. It was keynote or plenary address to the Workshop on ‘Forty years of Policy & Politics: Critical reflections and strategies for the future’  at the University of Bristol, 18-19 September 2012.  The photograph is courtesy of the official conference photographer. For a full account of proceedings see:

The draft version of the paper is available under Online publications.

Policy and Politics Bristol Sept 2012

Virtual issue of Public Administration

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Both Patrick Dunleavy and R.A.W Rhodes ‘Core Executive Studies in Britain’, Volume 68, Issue 1, 1990; and R.A.W Rhodes, ‘The Governance Narrative: Key Findings and Lessons from the ESRC’s Whitehall Programme’, Volume 78, Issue 2, 2000 have been included in Martin Lodge (ed.) 2012. British Public Administration. A virtual issue of Public Administration: an international quarterly. Available @:

Policy & Politics

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On  19 September, I will deliver a keynote address on ‘Political Anthropology and Public Policy: prospects and limits’ to the Workshop on ‘Forty years of Policy & Politics: Critical reflections and strategies for the future’, University of Bristol, 18-19 September 2012.

Rod Rhodes in Discussion (Video)

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This interview for the Department of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith Business School took place on Friday 11th June 2010 at Mt Gravatt. It was primarily for students taking the course on ‘Governance and the Core Executive’. The interviewer was Dennis Grube.

The interview covered broad topics:

  • Power and its exercise at the centre of government, especially the roles of ministers, staffers and public servants.
  • The significance and innovation of the core executive perspective.
  • Everyday life at the top of government departments and the work of the departmental court.
  • The current debate about presidentialization of the prime minister