How do things work around here? Research seminar with Professor Rod Rhodes
The 21st of May 2013, Professor Rod Rhodes will visit the CBS Public-Private Platform to give a research seminar for researchers.
Abstract: As citizens, why do we care about the everyday life of ministers and civil servants? We care because the decisions of the great and the good affect all our lives for good or ill. For all their personal, political, and policy failings and foibles, they make a difference. So, we want to know what ministers and bureaucrats do, why, and how. We are interested in their beliefs and practices.
Rod Rhodes’ latest book, Everyday Life in British Government ploughs virgin territory in the analysis of British central government because it is an exercise in political anthropology. It reports on the shadowing of ministers and senior civil servants in three British government departments and seeks to answer the question ‘how do things work around here?’ The research seminar explores their everyday life. It will look at the government elites’ world through their eyes, and explores how their beliefs and practices create meaning in politics, policy making and public service delivery. It analyses how such beliefs and practices are embedded in traditions; in webs of protocols, rituals, and languages. It challenges the conventional constitutional, institutional and managerial views of British governance. Instead, it describes a storytelling political-administrative elite with beliefs and practices rooted in the Westminster model that uses protocols and rituals to domesticate rude surprises and cope with recurrent dilemmas.
Rod Rhodes was recently awarded the 2012 International Research Association for Public Management and Routledge Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Public Management Research. The prize is awarded to "someone who has made a substantial contribution to public management research". He is Professor of Government at both the University of Southampton (UK); and Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia); and Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Newcastle (UK). Previously, he was the Director of the UK Economic and Social Research Council's 'Whitehall Programme' (1994-1999); Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University (2006-11); and Director of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University (2007-8). He is the author or editor of some 30 books including recently: Everyday Life in British Government (Oxford University Press 2011); and The State as Cultural Practice (with Mark Bevir, Oxford University Press 2010). He is life Vice-President and former President and Chair of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom; a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia; and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK).