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Title: Policy as Palimpsest: a case study of micro and macro policy and politics intersecting in local implementation resulting in unintended consequences
Authors: Carter, Pam J.
First Published: 1-Jul-2012
Publisher: Policy Press
Citation: Policy and Politics: an international journal, 2012, 40 (3), pp. 423-443
Abstract: A palimpsest is a multi-layered text that is reinscribed over time. This article presents policy as analogous to a palimpsest to highlight implementation processes and the complexity of judging progress. Findings from an ethnographic study of the UK Sure Start Children's Centres policy demonstrate how implementation is experienced locally. Here religious beliefs and traditional cultures influence implementation and persistent social structures are in tension with rapid policy shifts or 'initiativitis'. Perceptions of progress depend on how history is interpreted, how policy is framed and how the future is imagined. Unintended consequences are produced as a local policy-palimpsest is enacted.
DOI Link: 10.1332/030557312X626613
ISSN: 0305-5736
eISSN: 1470-8442
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2012, Policy Press. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Description: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Policy & Politics. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Policy & Politics, Volume 40, Number 3, July 2012, pp. 423-443(21) is available online at:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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