The challenges in a world undergoing frantic political, social, scientific, and environmental transformation have put demands on scholars in public policy and governance to transform as well. They require new perspectives, epistemological anchorages, analytical frameworks and research strategies, which can stimulate greater coherence and creativity between our normative, conceptual, and empirical frameworks. Facing highly global, complex and interconnected challenges around climate change, social inequality and poverty, migration, post-pandemic public health, – among others – also requires a more explicit ethical positionality of scholars towards democratic values and global societal equity in ways that revitalize longer-standing debates on the neutrality of doing research in public policies and governance. A call for increasing the social relevance of policy studies enters, once more, center stage in this context.
This general session builds on these concerns to invite articles (theoretical, methodological, and empirical), panels, and roundtables that wish to engage with these debates. Some more classic themes such as economic governance, public welfare, social protection, democratic governance, participatory practices, new populisms, social justice, public transparence, migration and integration, but also more recent ones, such as post-truth politics, global environmental justice, climate change, technology governance, the advent of artificial intelligence technologies in public sector decision-making or diversities (race, gender, income, social class, disability, sexuality, religion, cultural) and care policy, seem to be more attentive and sensitive to concerns over the social relevance of policy studies, although they do not exclude others.
Works from different parts of the world are very welcome, as are studies which take a distinct geopolitical and global relational view and leave behind methodological nationalism. In addition, we strongly encourage papers, panels, and round tables that bring in critical, decolonial, indigenous, intersectional, feminist and queer perspectives to understand, investigate, problematize, and reflect on public policy and governance in light of the main concerns of this general session. We look both for paper submissions to our open panels, and for free-standing papers which speak to the questions mentioned in this call.