Public policy is an expression that has come to dominate the way people talk about doing government and public administration and is seen as a central component of the modern democratic order. Adopting an innovative ‘public action languages’ approach, Beyond Public Policy shows how policy is only one of many powerful social languages that are used to get things done in government and public service. Equally important are the social languages that are used by the public in raising issues, putting pressure on governments and service providers, and also in creating their own responses to public needs. The result is a multiplicity of ways of talking about and doing public affairs: budgeting, planning, rights, directives, policy, governance, protests, philanthropy, community action amongst many others. Sometimes these different social languages get along together, but they can also enter into conflict or, just as easily, go their own way.
This is a book for public service staff, people in government, community workers and activists, international development staff and scholars and students in political science, sociology, public administration, social psychology and social anthropology and all those active in the day to day of public affairs.
Peter Kevin Spink is Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Public Administration and Government Studies, Getulio Vargas Foundation, São Paulo, Brazil