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Stoic democrats? Anti-politics, elite cynicism and the policy process

Stoic democrats? Anti-politics, elite cynicism and the policy process
Stoic democrats? Anti-politics, elite cynicism and the policy process
Disenchantment with politics appears to be proliferating throughout contemporary liberal democracies, as outlined in the growing literature on anti-politics. Overwhelmingly, this literature has focused on the disaffection citizens express towards the policy process. Here, using policymaking on the issue of obesity in Australia and Britain as a case study, we show that disenchantment is not limited to citizen outsiders; the elite policy actors at the core of the process are cynical, too. Indeed, we unveil an elite cast of ‘stoic democrats’ who see little reward for their continual efforts. We also point to the limits of stoicism highlighted by this ‘extreme’ case, as some elites begin to challenge the legitimacy of formal policy processes, subvert their norms, or ignore them altogether, all in search of more direct impact. We conclude that the literature on anti-politics would benefit from paying greater attention to the potential challenge elite cynicism presents to democratic governance.
anti-politics, deliberation, network governance, obesity, wicked problems
1350-1763
1388-1405
Boswell, John
34bad0df-3d4d-40ce-948f-65871e3d783c
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Boswell, John
34bad0df-3d4d-40ce-948f-65871e3d783c
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2

Boswell, John and Corbett, Jack (2015) Stoic democrats? Anti-politics, elite cynicism and the policy process. Journal of European Public Policy, 22 (10), 1388-1405. (doi:10.1080/13501763.2015.1010561).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Disenchantment with politics appears to be proliferating throughout contemporary liberal democracies, as outlined in the growing literature on anti-politics. Overwhelmingly, this literature has focused on the disaffection citizens express towards the policy process. Here, using policymaking on the issue of obesity in Australia and Britain as a case study, we show that disenchantment is not limited to citizen outsiders; the elite policy actors at the core of the process are cynical, too. Indeed, we unveil an elite cast of ‘stoic democrats’ who see little reward for their continual efforts. We also point to the limits of stoicism highlighted by this ‘extreme’ case, as some elites begin to challenge the legitimacy of formal policy processes, subvert their norms, or ignore them altogether, all in search of more direct impact. We conclude that the literature on anti-politics would benefit from paying greater attention to the potential challenge elite cynicism presents to democratic governance.

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Stoic Democrats final submission Jan19.docx - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 20 January 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 February 2015
Keywords: anti-politics, deliberation, network governance, obesity, wicked problems
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 376590
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/376590
ISSN: 1350-1763
PURE UUID: 42df5688-39a6-405b-af6a-27e657aebd0f
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 May 2015 12:39
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:33

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