Pub. Date:
Springer International Publishing
Discretion and the Quest for Controlled Freedom

Discretion and the Quest for Controlled Freedom

by Tony Evans, Peter HupeTony Evans


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Looking at discretion broadly as the exercise of controlled freedom, this edited volume introduces insights from a range of social sciences perspectives. Traditionally, discussions of discretion have drawn on legal notions of the appropriate exercise of legitimate authority specified by legislators. However, empirical and theoretical studies in the social sciences have extended our understanding of discretion, moving us beyond a narrow legal view. Contributors from a range of disciplines explore the idea of discretion and related notions of freedom and control across social and political practices and in different contexts. As this complex and important topic is discussed and examined, both total control and unconstrained freedom appear to be illusions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783030195656
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Publication date: 08/22/2019
Edition description: 1st ed. 2020
Pages: 437
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Tony Evans is Professor of Social Work at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. His research interests focus on professional practice and policy work in adult social care.

Peter Hupe is Visiting Professor at the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium. He is also Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. His research focuses on the theoretical-empirical study of public policy processes, particularly policy implementation and street-level bureaucracy.

Table of Contents

1 Conceptualizing Discretion.Tony Evans, Peter Hupe

Part I. Discretion in Context
2 Discretion in Context: An Introduction. Peter Hupe,Tony Evans
3 Discretion and Blame Avoidance. Christopher Hood
4 Discretion in the Surveillance State. Mark Hardy
5 Discretion in the Welfare State. Evelyn Brodkin
6 Discretion and Welfare Rights in a British Context. Michael Hill
7 Discretion and Empowerment Greg Marston, Danielle Davidson

Part II. Perspectives on Discretion
8 Perspectives on Discretion: An Introduction. Tony Evans, Peter Hupe
9 Discretion from a Legal Perspective. Peter Mascini
10 Discretion from an Economic Perspective. Dirk Wolfson
11 Discretion from a Psychological Perspective. Lars Tummers, Victor Bekkers
12 Discretion from a Sociological Perspective. Zachary Oberfield
13 Discretion from a Critical Perspective. Hannah Jobling.

Part III. Discretion in Governance
14 Discretion in Governance: An Introduction. Peter Hupe, Tony Evans
15 Discretion and Bureaucracy. Paul du Gay, Kirstine Zinck Pedersen
16 Discretion in the Policy Process. Peter Hupe, Michael Hill
17 Discretion and Street-Level Practice. Hendrik Wagenaar
18 Organized Discretion. Suzanne Rutz, Antoinette de Bont
19 Managerial Discretion. Catherine Needham
20 Automated Discretion. Stavros Zouridis, Marlies van Eck, Mark Bovens

Part IV. Practising Freedom and Control
21 Practising Freedom and Control: An Introduction. Tony Evans, Peter Hupe
22 Expertise and the Space for Discretion. Michael Luntley
23 Discretion and Professional Work. Tony Evans
24 The Art of Discretion. Tony Evans
25 Discretion as Ethical Practice. Gideon Calder
26 Controlled Freedom: Dealing with Discretion. Peter Hupe, Tony Evans

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This is an essential compendium for scholars and practitioners who seek to understand the role of discretion as a fundamental element of laws, rules, and social norms. Scholarly perspectives and practical insights are enriched through consideration of the exercise, limits, and abuse of discretion in governing, organizations, and professional practice. The distinguished set of authors makes this an impressive undertaking.” (Peter J. May, Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, USA)

“In ordered societies discretion is unavoidably omnipresent. It is usually conceived as the space that rules and authority leave for situated decision making by subordinates. Within this juridical perspective discretion is a leftover. This volume offers a broader, more empirical perspective on practices of discretion. It studies discretion from within different academic disciplines and in a variety of contexts. Instead of a restcategory, discretion hence emerges as a positive space that allows for creativity, judgement and trust. The importance of discretion for social order was brought home when Mario Draghi announced that the European Central Bank would do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro. This volume helps us understand, and better prepare for, such situations where freedom and control, discretion and rules have to be brought together.” (Herman van Gunsteren, author of The Quest for Control, Emeritus Professor of Political Theory, Leiden University, The Netherlands)

“Discretion is an inevitable yet controversial feature in public policy and law, but it is several years since a comprehensive and coherent analysis appeared in the literature. This collection of original essays, written from different disciplinary perspectives, explores this protean and elusive phenomenon in a variety of ways. The papers have been well organised and closely edited and raise our understanding of the meaning and place of discretion to a new level.” (Keith Hawkins, Professor Emeritus of Law and Society, Oxford University, UK)

“This volume addresses some of the very important practice dilemmas for professionals in our time. It provides a road map for navigating the contours of working the spaces between the restrictions of rules and the responsiveness to people in shifting contexts. It gives us hope and ways to move forward. A must-read for every professional.” (Jan Fook, Professor and Chair, Department of Social Work, University of Vermont, USA)

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