Social Science and Public Policy

Richard Freeman

backpublications - draft papers

Transformation of a mental health system the case of Scotland
Smith-Merry, J, Freeman, R and Sturdy, S

System transformation in mental health is of immediate concern across countries throughout Europe and beyond. In this paper we describe a paradigm shift in Scottish policy from the control of psychiatric disorder to mental health governance and explore the means by which it has been supported and sustained. No longer characterised by outdated legislation, poor communication and a very limited policy framework, mental health policy in Scotland is held up as exemplary by the World Health Organization, the European Commission and other international actors. We identify four key factors in this structural transformation: 1) a renewed institutional mandate for mental health at the moment of devolution; 2) a commitment to consultation and communication both among mental health actors and agencies and with a wider public; 3) the use of information in performance management and, 4) the degree of reflexivity fostered by engagement in international networks.

Publication Type: draft paper      Source:
Date: 2011       Link: of a mental health system: the case of Scotland


Knowledge in policy: embodied, inscribed, enacted
Freeman, R and Sturdy, S

The literature on the role of knowledge in policy making encompasses a striking diversity of views on just what knowledge is, what different types of knowledge there may be and how they are to be observed empirically. In this paper, we propose a new phenomenology of knowledge based not on 'who knows what, how, why' but on the form that knowledge takes. Drawing a simple analogy with the three phases of matter - solid, liquid and gas - we argue that knowledge, too, exists in three phases, which we characterise as embodied, inscribed and enacted. And just as matter may pass from one phase to another, so too knowledge can be transformed, through various kinds of action, between phases. After reviewing the literature on knowledge and policy, we elaborate this three-phase model in the third section of our paper below. Our argument is illustrated and elaborated through a case study of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Europe. As a knowledge-based organization, it offers a useful opportunity to explore the nature of knowledge in policy making; in doing so, we ground our theoretical model in empirical observation. We conclude by discussing the implications of our perspective for future work both in research and policy.

Publication Type: draft paper      Source:
Date: 2011       Link: in policy: embodied, inscribed, enacted

articulation, assemblage, alignment: the project in/of EU governance

The project, and by extension the programme, is a key instrument of European governance. The function of the project is to draw heterogeneous sets of actors together, to generate connections between them, to articulate them. What are created as a result are assemblages: amorphous, unstable and multidimensional organizational forms. Assemblages endure to the degree of alignment they achieve among the actors of which they are composed: this paper identifies 'alignment practices' as a critical component of European governance.

Publication Type: draft paper      Source: Europa Institute seminar series 'Practising EU government'
Date: 2009       Link:, assemblage, alignment: the project in/of EU governance