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Framing the Islands »

Power and Diplomatic Agency in Pacific Regionalism

Authored by: Greg Fry
Publication date: 2019
Since its origins in late eighteenth-century European thought, the idea of placing a regional frame around the Pacific islands has never been just an exercise in geographical mapping. This framing has always been a political exercise. Contending regional projects and visions have been part of a political struggle concerning how Pacific islanders should live their lives. Framing the Islands tells the story of this political struggle and its impact on the regional governance of key issues for the Pacific such as regional development, resource management, security, cultural identity, political agency, climate change and nuclear involvement. It tells this story in the context of a changing world order since the colonial period and of changing politics within the post-colonial states of the Pacific. Framing the Islands argues that Pacific regionalism has been politically significant for Pacific island states and societies. It demonstrates the power associated with the regional arena as a valued site for the negotiation of global ideas and processes around development, security and climate change. It also demonstrates the political significance associated with the role of Pacific regionalism as a diplomatic bloc in global affairs, and as a producer of powerful policy norms attached to funded programs. This study also challenges the expectation that Pacific regionalism largely serves hegemonic powers and that small islands states have little diplomatic agency in these contests. Pacific islanders have successfully promoted their own powerful normative framings of Oceania in the face of the attempted hegemonic impositions from outside the region; seen, for example, in the strong commitment to the ‘Blue Pacific continent’ framing as a guiding ideology for the policy work of the Pacific Islands Forum in the face of pressures to become part of Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

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Contested Terrain »

Reconceptualising Security in the Pacific

Authored by: Steven Ratuva
Publication date: September 2019
Contested Terrain provides a cutting-edge, comprehensive and innovative approach to critically analysing the multidimensional and contested nature of security narratives, justified by different ideological, political, cultural and economic rationales. This is important in a complex and ever-changing situation involving a dynamic interplay between local, regional and global factors. Security narratives are constructed in multiple ways and are used to frame our responses to the challenges and threats to our sense of safety, wellbeing, identity and survival but how the narratives are constructed is a matter of intellectual and political contestation. Using three case studies from the Pacific (Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands), Contested Terrain shows the different security challenges facing each country, which result from their unique historical, political and socio-cultural circumstances. Contrary to the view that the Pacific is a generic entity with common security issues, this book argues for more localised and nuanced approaches to security framing and analysis.

Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform: Volume 26, Number 1, 2019 »

Edited by: William Coleman
Publication date: September 2019
Agenda is a refereed, ECONLIT-indexed and RePEc-listed journal of the College of Business and Economics, The Australian National University. Launched in 1994, Agenda provides a forum for debate on public policy, mainly (but not exclusively) in Australia and New Zealand. It deals largely with economic issues but gives space to social and legal policy and also to the moral and philosophical foundations and implications of policy. Subscribe to the Agenda Alerting service if you wish to be advised on forthcoming or new issues.

The Realities and Futures of Work »

Authored by: David Peetz
Publication date: 2019
What do we know about the current realities of work and its likely futures? What choices must we make and how will they affect those futures? Many books about the future of work start by talking about the latest technology, and focus on how technology is going to change the way we work. And there is no doubt that technology will have huge impacts. However, to really understand the direction in which work is going, and the impact that technology and other forces will have, we need to first understand where we are. This book covers topics ranging from the ‘mega-drivers of change’ at work, power, globalisation and financialisation, to management, workers, digitalisation, the gig economy, gender, climate change, regulation and deregulation. In doing this, it refers to some of the great works of science fiction. It demolishes several myths, such as that the employment relationship is doomed, that we are all heading to becoming ‘freelancers’ or ‘gig workers’ one day, that most jobs will be destroyed by technological change, that the growth in jobs will mainly be in STEM fields, that we will no longer value collectivism as we will all be ‘individuals’, or that the death of unionism is inevitable. The Realities and Futures of Work also rejects the idea of technological determinism—that whatever will be, will be, thanks to technological change—and so it refuses to accept that we simply need to prepare to adapt ourselves to the future by judicious training since there is nothing else we can do about it. Instead, this book provides a realistic basis for thinking about both the present and the future. It emphasises the choices we make, and the implications of those choices for the future of work.

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Competing for Influence »

The Role of the Public Service in Better Government in Australia

Authored by: Barry Ferguson
Publication date: July 2019
Amidst growing dissatisfaction with the state of government performance and an erosion of trust in our political class, Competing for Influence asks: what sort of public service do we want in Australia? Drawing on his experience in both the public and private sectors – and citing academic research across the fields of public sector management, industrial organisation, and corporate strategy – Barry Ferguson argues the case for the careful selection and application of private sector management concepts to the public service, both for their ability to strengthen the public service and inform public policy. These include competitive advantage, competitive positioning, horizontal strategy and organisational design, and innovation as an all-encompassing organisational adjustment mechanism to a changeable environment. But these are not presented as a silver bullet, and Ferguson addresses other approaches to reform, including the need to rebuild the Public Sector Act, the need to reconsider the interface between political and administrative arms of government (and determine what is in the ‘public interest’), and the need for greater independence for the public service within a clarified role. This approach, and its implications for public sector reform, is contrasted with the straitjacket of path dependency that presently constricts the field.

The Chinese Economic Transformation »

Views from Young Economists

Edited by: Ligang Song, Yixiao Zhou, Luke Hurst
Publication date: July 2019
The Chinese Economic Transformation, the 19th volume in the China Update book series, provides an opportunity for young economists to share their views on various issues relating to the Chinese economic transformation. More than half of the contributors to this book are female scholars. Some of the contributors are rising stars in the studies of the Chinese economy and economic transition, and some only recently received their PhDs and are on their way to establishing themselves in the field of China studies. But they have one thing in common: to passionately observe, study and research what is going on in the Chinese economic transformation during the reform period; and, by so doing, make contributions to the policy debates on, and general understanding of, the Chinese economy. The chapters in this volume include an in-depth probe into challenges in capital and credit allocation due to financial friction and policy distortions; investigating the causes of growth slow-down in China and suitable policy responses; the evolution of the household registration system and its impact on off-farm employment and the integration of rural and urban labour markets; the growth, scale and characteristics of nonstandard employment; the development of rural e-commerce and its economic impact; innovation performance of listed enterprises in China; financial services liberalisation and its impact on firms’ performance; financing support schemes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the effect on banks’ credit allocation to SMEs; the potential costs of US–China trade conflict and ways to mitigate them; gender income gap in China’s labour market; causes of blockage of Chinese overseas direct investment and strategies to reduce the probability of encountering obstacles; and the role of state capital in the iron ore boom in Australia. The great variety of topics in this year’s Update allows readers to understand the current shape of the Chinese economy and to think deeply about policies and necessary reforms for future growth and development.

Afterlives of Chinese Communism »

Political Concepts from Mao to Xi

Publication date: June 2019
Afterlives of Chinese Communism comprises essays from over fifty world- renowned scholars in the China field, from various disciplines and continents. It provides an indispensable guide for understanding how the Mao era continues to shape Chinese politics today. Each chapter discusses a concept or practice from the Mao period, what it attempted to do, and what has become of it since. The authors respond to the legacy of Maoism from numerous perspectives to consider what lessons Chinese communism can offer today, and whether there is a future for the egalitarian politics that it once promised.

Successful Public Policy »

Lessons from Australia and New Zealand

Publication date: April 2019
In Australia and New Zealand, many public projects, programs and services perform well. But these cases are consistently underexposed and understudied. We cannot properly ‘see’—let alone recognise and explain—variations in government performance when media, political and academic discourses are saturated with accounts of their shortcomings and failures, but are next to silent on their achievements. Successful Public Policy: Lessons from Australia and New Zealand helps to turn that tide. It aims to reset the agenda for teaching, research and dialogue on public policy performance. This is done through a series of close-up, in-depth and carefully chosen case study accounts of the genesis and evolution of stand-out public policy achievements, across a range of sectors within Australia and New Zealand. Through these accounts, written by experts from both countries, we engage with the conceptual, methodological and theoretical challenges that have plagued extant research seeking to evaluate, explain and design successful public policy. Studies of public policy successes are rare—not just in Australia and New Zealand, but the world over. This book is embedded in a broader project exploring policy successes globally; its companion volume, Great Policy Successes (edited by Paul ‘t Hart and Mallory Compton), is published by Oxford University Press (2019).

Power »

Edited by: Jane Golley, Linda Jaivin, Paul J. Farrelly, Sharon Strange
Publication date: April 2019
In 2018, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was, by most measures, more powerful than at any other time in its history and had become one of the most powerful countries in the world. Its economy faced serious challenges, including from the ongoing ‘trade war’ with the US, but still ranked as the world’s second largest. Its Belt and Road Initiative, meanwhile, continued to carve paths of influence and economic integration across several continents. A deft combination of policy, investment, and entrepreneurship has also turned the PRC into a global ‘techno-power’. It aims, with a good chance of success, at becoming a global science and technology leader by 2049 – one hundred years from the founding of the PRC. In surveying the various ways in which the Party-state wields its hard, soft, and sharp power, the China Story Yearbook: Power offers readers a sense of the diversity of power at work both in China and abroad. Citizens of the PRC have long negotiated the state’s influence; increasingly, diaspora communities and other actors are now being subject to its might. As with previous editions in the series, we place important developments in historical context, and adopt a cross-disciplinary approach: it is our view that economy and politics cannot be divorced from culture, history, and society. The Yearbook provides accessible analysis of the main events and trends of the year and is an essential tool for understanding China’s growing power and influence around the world.

Dog Days »

Made in China Yearbook 2018

Publication date: April 2019
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 was the year of the ‘earthly dog’. In the middle of the long, hot, and feverish dog days of the summer of 2018, some workers at Shenzhen Jasic Technology took their chances and attempted to form an independent union. While this action was met by the harshest repression, it also led to extraordinary demonstrations of solidarity from small groups of radical students from all over the country, which in turn were immediately and severely suppressed. China’s year of the dog was also imbued with the spirit of another canine, Cerberus—the three-headed hound of Hades—with the ravenous advance of the surveillance state and the increasing securitisation of Chinese society, starting from the northwestern region of Xinjiang. This Yearbook traces these latest developments in Chinese society through a collection of 50 original essays on labour, civil society, and human rights in China and beyond, penned by leading scholars and practitioners from around the world.