Re-politicisation and Political Transformation

Over the past couple of decades governments have increasingly relied upon experts and scientists to make and implement policies. This can be called ‘depoliticisation’, trying to take the politics out of important decisions and leaving them to the experts.

However, leaving it to the experts can be dangerous.

The global economic crash of 2008 arguably happened because powerful expert economists relied upon for forecasts and setting interest rates failed to see it coming.

Introducing more public debate, involvement and contestation may be a good thing, incorporating the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ and enabling learning and knowledge transfer.

It can also be important for improving public engagement and interest in politics, especially when politicians respond positively to bottom-up protests and petitions.


Project details:

In this global collaborative project with the Political Studies Association Anti-politics and Depoliticisation Special Group, we are examining and evaluating re-politicistaion.

What are the best conditions for re-politicisation?

When is re-politicisation more common and desirable?

Are there some areas, like the environment and economy, better left to the experts?

How can re-politicisation help improve public policy, and the public’s understanding of politics?

Matthew Flinders and Matthew Wood recently had “When Politics Fails: Hyper-Democracy and Hyper-Depoliticization” published in New Political Science which identified a correlation between increasing political pressures on national governments, and the delegation of decisions away from elected politicians. It argues that a more balanced approach should be taken in terms of democratic government.

Also by Matt Wood, the blog piece “Wage policy ‘coup’ marks debasing of politics by hyper-democracy” argues that politicians are damaging democracy by creating public “euphoria” from promised policies but then quickly quashing such hopes and thereby fuelling public distrust of politicians.

More projects: The Demonization of Polititians


Re-politicising policy decisions may be a good thing, incorporating the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ and enabling learning and knowledge transfer.