Political Scientists from Five Continents Gather at the HSE to Discuss Workings of Public Policy
On May 28-29, 2014, an international academic conference ‘Analytical Communities in Policy Advisory Systems at the Global and Local Level: Comparative Analysis of Policy Impact’ took place at the HSE.
The conference was organized jointly by the HSE Public Policy Department and research committees of the International Political Science Association. Leading researchers and heads of analytical centres from Russia, the CIS, U.S., Canada, Singapore, Turkey, Australia, Germany, Cameroon, the Netherlands, Mexico, and other countries participated in the event. Presenters included specialists from the HSE and other Russian universities, including Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian State University for the Humanities, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.
Nina Belyaeva, Head of the HSE Public Policy Department, commented on the conference and said that this was the first event on this topic to be held in the CIS. ‘Public policy is a relatively new area of research in the world. This is an integrated area of studies that is of interest for decision-making management and coordination of various development trajectories, which are understood differently by various social actors...The task of public policy is to find joint solutions in every specific area, which would (ideally) serve to benefit society’.
At the conference we tried to find out how analytical communities are structured in Russia, who comprises them, how they collect information and make it comprehensible for decision makers, what political risks exist and how various social groups would react to certain decisions
Head of the HSE Public Policy Department
‘I would especially like to mention that along with international analysts whose h-indexes are beyond all possible limits, such as Jack Goldstone (George Mason University, USA), Michael Howlett (National University of Singapore), and Robert Hoppe (University of Twente, the Netherlands), HSE Master’s and postgraduate students also presented their research and received academic feedback from internationally renowned experts’, Belyaeva added.
The list of topics discussed at the conference included virtually all areas of research that somehow affect society: from migration and educational policy to transport infrastructure and the internet as a political factor. ‘At the conference we tried to find out how analytical communities are structured in Russia, who comprises them, how they collect information and make it comprehensible for decision makers, what political risks exist and how various social groups would react to certain decisions’, Belyaeva said.
In particular, the last session discussed one of the main tasks that analysts face in public policy – telling the truth to authorities. The problem, however, is that there is no one universal truth and no single correct solution. A report by Anna Potsar (HSE) and Vyacheslav Danilov (MSU) was dedicated to the problem of whether intellectual communities should have their own media. The ‘Open Opinion’ project – an experimental initiative to carry out a full-scale sociological study in the ‘collaborative open research’ format, which is new for Russian sociology – was shown as a positive example of independent media.
Iliya Kiriya (HSE) spoke about how contemporary official media work and how they are rigidly integrated with the authorities and dependent on them. Roman Evstifeev (Vladimir branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Service) studied how an analytical community in a small provincial town during a change in city government managed to develop an urban development strategy that included areas ranging from culture to transport infrastructure.
According to Belyaeva, the key event of the conference was a special session with participation by editors-in-chief from four international peer-reviewed journals that are indexed in Web of Science and Scopus: Iris Geva-May (Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis), Michael Howlett (Policy and Society), Frank Fischer (Critical Policy Studies), and Kenneth Couch (The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management). ‘This session attracted researchers from virtually all HSE faculties’, Belyaeva said, ‘and, most importantly, we invited representatives both from HSE journals, such as Foresight, and other Russian journals that publish articles on public policy’.
Papers and more information from the event can be found on the conference website.
Anastasia Chumak, HSE News Service
Photos by Nikita Benzoruk
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