What do policy makers do with anomalies in information? Explaining resilient, robust, agile and improvisatory styles in policymaking

On 24 March, we welcome Perri 6 (Queen Mary, University of London) to SKAPE as part of our annual seminar series.

Abstract: Despite advocacy that governments should pursue robust, agile, improvisatory and resilient policymaking, this article argues that these styles of decision-making are not fully mutually compatible, and that each carries peculiar risks for governments. It presents a neo-Durkheimian institutional explanation for this, arguing that forms of informal social organisation among ministers, advisers and senior civil servants in which these styles of decision-making are most likely to be cultivated also explain each style’s particular risks and the tensions among them. Each style is a response to anomalies in policymakers’ classifications of problems and options; moreover, use of each style generates new anomalies. This helps to explain decay within robust, agile improvisatory and resilient, decision-making styles over time. The argument is illustrated by comparative analysis of decision-making in matched fields of both foreign and domestic policy in three differently ordered UK administrations.

The seminar will take place online via Zoom (for link details, please email the Co-Directors – if you are already a member/associate member of SKAPE, then you will receive a Zoom link two days before the start of the event).


Mar 24 2021


11:30 am - 12:30 pm


Online - Zoom