Description : Abstract : Representative bureaucracy theory explores the effects of representation on bureaucracies, but less attention has been paid to date as to how agents represent values or interests. Addressing this omission, this article highlights the unconscious dimension of active representation and, more specifically, the role of unconscious bias in representation. Unconscious bias has received limited attention to date in public administration, but has clear relevance for understanding how representation occurs at the individual level. This article proposes a framework for understanding unconscious bias. Drawing on Bourdieu's habitus, but making explicit its unconscious dimension, I argue that unconscious bias enhances our understanding of how active representation occurs in bureaucracies today. The article applies these insights to the case of unconscious gender bias as found in the Australian Public Service (APS) and concludes by exploring the methodological challenges involved in building a research agenda into tackling unconscious bias.
Description : When the objectives of public policy programmes have been formulated and decided upon, implementation seems just a matter of following instructions. However, it is underway to the realization of those objectives that public policies get their final substance and form. Crucial is what happens in and around the encounter between public officials and individual citizens at the street level of government bureaucracy. This Research Handbook addresses the state of the art while providing a systematic exploration of the theoretical and methodological issues apparent in the study of street-level bureaucracy and how to deal with them.
Description : Proposing a novel approach to understanding the contemporary political landscape, Akram draws on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Margaret Archer on agency and argues the need for an in-depth engagement with concepts of agency to improve the reach and scope of political analysis. Is the way that people engage with politics changing? If so, how well-equipped are we to document and explain the extent and range of the ways in which people are engaging in politics today? This book tackles these questions through a blend of theoretical reflection and empirical research, shedding new light on the relationship between arena and process definitions of politics, and how the social relates to the political. Hitherto unexplored features of agency such as the unconscious and the internal political conversation are shown to be critical in exploring how people mobilise today and how they make sense of their political engagement. Two in-depth case studies of the internal political conversations that individuals hold as well as an analysis of the 2011 UK riots are presented. Making a case for the role of self-expression in politics, this book will be of use for graduates and scholars interested in British politics, political theory, social theory, political sociology, the theory and practice of political engagement and political behaviour.