Australian Political Scientist Hal Colebatch Guest at IGS and STəPS

Australian Political Scientist Hal Colebatch Guest at IGS and STəPS

Hal Colebatch from the University of New South Wales, Australia currently is guest-professor at STəPS and IGS. He is internationally renown for his best-selling introductory textbook, “Policy” (Open University Press, 3rd edition, 2009). He lectures on policy studies for the programmes of Public Administration and European Studies, and he is advisor to IGS.

He is a political scientist whose field of interest is the architecture of public authority – that is, the forms and practices through which areas of collective concern are governed.  He draws on analytical approaches from political science, public administration and organizational analysis, and his current research focuses on the interplay of official decision, stakeholder negotiation and social learning in the construction of governing.

Hal has been cooperating for several years with Prof Rob Hoppe, Director of Public Administration programme and Professor of Policy and Knowledge at the School of Management and Governance. The first occasion was Hal Colebatch’s book “The Work of Policy. An International Survey” (Lexington Books, Lanham, 2006). The second one is a co-edited book, with Rob Hoppe and Mirko Noordegraaf (Utrecht University), “Working for Policy” (to be published this fall by Amsterdam University Press, 2010).

Hal Colebatch stands for the integration of three strands in policy thinking normally kept separate, or even seen as contradictory:

· policy as method-driven cognitive activity, as analysis or puzzling for solutions to frequently quite unstructured or ‘wicked’ problems

· policy as structured interaction or non-violent power struggle; because only from a position of power one may initiate and follow-through collective action

· policy as interpretation of our collective fortunes and adversities; because only shared interpretations may bring about sufficient solidarity for collective action.

The implication of this integrating view on policy studies is that policy analysis US-style is obsolete; in an age of governance, policy work is the more appropriate designation for the entire set of cognitive and not-so-cognitive activities in and producing the policy process. ‘Policy work’ entails a research agenda in policy studies akin to the research agenda in STS: follow the (policy) actors, observe what they do, not what they say they do in their methods handbooks.

Key readings:

· Policy.  Buckingham UK, Open University Press, 3rd edition 2009

· ‘Policy, models and the construction of governing’ in H.K. Colebatch (ed.) The Work of Policy: an international survey, Lanham MD, Lexington Books, 2006, pp. 3-19

· ‘Policy Analysis, policy practice and political science’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 64, 3, 14-23, 2005

· ‘Government and governmentality: using multiple approaches to the analysis of government’, Australian Journal of Political Science 37, 3: 417-435, 2002

Please, contact Dr Peter Stegmaier ( in case you want get in touch with Hal Colebatch.