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Policy reconsideredMeanings, politics and practices$
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Susan M. Hodgson and Zoe Irving

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861349132

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861349132.001.0001

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Policies as translation: situating transnational social policies

Policies as translation: situating transnational social policies

(p.173) ten Policies as translation: situating transnational social policies
Policy reconsidered

Noémi Lendvai

Paul Stubbs

Policy Press

This chapter investigates some of the implications of developing an anthropology or ethnography of the transnational dimensions of policy (dimensions of policy which comprises levels beyond the individual nation state). It adheres to ethnographic accounts of policy change processes which highlight policy mediation, dialogue, translation, compromise, and resistance. It focuses on social policy in terms of its ‘displacements’ or ‘deep uncertainties’ of what is taken for granted and situates this in the context of a new internationalisation in which nation states compare their social policies within those of other countries and in which notions of ‘European social policy’ and of ‘global social policy’ suggest reform models and benchmarks which are beyond those of the nation state. The chapter begins by outlining the basic conceptual apparatus in terms of policy as meaning-making. It then examines policy as translation and investigates the implications in terms of transnationalisation of policy. In particular, the second section aims to compare policy translation with the more conventional notions of policy transfer. The third section examines policy translation within the parameters of reflexive ethnographic approach. The last section provides conclusions and some brief notes on some theoretical and ethical objections that can and should be raised.

Keywords:   policy change, social policy, internationalisation, meaning-making, translation, transnationalisation, policy translation, policy transfer, reflexive ethnographic approach

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