Complexity, Power and Policy


Room, G., 2015. Complexity, Power and Policy. In: Geyer, R. and Cairney, P., eds. Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy. Cheltenham: Elgar, pp. 19-31.

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This chapter confronts the literature on complex systems with the political sociology literature on power. It asks: how should complexity thinking handle 'power'; how can this enrich larger debates in political and social science about power; and how, finally, should this affect our approach to policy analysis and policy making? The complexity literature generally lacks much discussion of 'power'. There is in general little reference to the distribution of power in the society concerned, and to the institutional mechanisms through which power is exercised. This chapter argues that complexity perspectives must be combined with the insights of political sociology, if they are to provide real value-added, in terms of both research and policy guidance. It also however demonstrates how complexity perspectives bring additional analytical insights that enrich the debates on power within the sociological and political science literature, including in particular those inspired by Lukes.


Item Type Book Sections
CreatorsRoom, G.
EditorsGeyer, R.and Cairney, P.
DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Social & Policy Sciences
Research Centres & Institutes > Institute for Policy Research
Research CentresCentre for Analysis of Social Policy (CASP)
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistical Mathematics (SAMBa)
ID Code45282


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