Joe McDonagh, Laura Burke and Gerard O’Leary
: Technology roadmaps have become an essential part of the European Commission’s (EC) nanotechnology policy strategies. They represent socio-technical landscapes and evolving pathways, suggesting the underlying or otherwise supportive metaphorical patterns and narrative structures. For the same reason, however, roadmaps are problematic assemblages: they can simplify and distort reality, and filter things that don’t fit. The presented study combines cognitive linguistics with narratology to scrutinise the European Commission’s nanotechnology roadmapping as a discursive formation. It targets the systematic metaphors in approximately two-hundred news and reports on nanotechnology, compiled ad hoc from the CORDIS database (between the years 1999-2015). It is argued that the identified metaphors correspond to a discourse topology of ‘locations’, ‘events’, and their structures, especially as regards to the dilemma of ‘path dependence’, overcoming ‘knowledge gaps’, and reaching ‘nanoworld’. These are accompanied by a narrative climax of developing mature science policy model, in the arrangement of actions and roles for the European governments, science (nanotechnology), policy, and the public. The study demonstrates how systematic metaphors engage all the actors in the narrative of ‘innovation journey’ to form stabilised structures of meaning, that is, spatio-temporal consolidation of nanotechnology policy. It is imperative to continuously assess the context of such consolidation, being less overt but not necessarily less effective, in privileging some meanings, interests, and practices over the others, thereby excluding other political alternatives.
Peter Finnegan and Muiris MacCarthaigh
Gerard Turley, Stephen McNena and Geraldine Robbins
This paper sets out to establish the extent of austerity in the Irish local government system during and after the Great Recession. Austerity is measured by the adjusted change in local government expenditure from peak to trough years, and is analysed by type of expenditure, service division and local authority. Stripping out the change in local government current spending that is due to expenditure reassignments reveals that the austerity-related reduction in local government operating expenditure is not as large as often portrayed. As for other findings, there are sizeable differences across the aforementioned classifications, with, most notably, capital expenditure cuts far exceeding cuts in current expenditure. The largest decreases in total spending were on roads and housing services, and small rural county councils endured the most austerity, as measured by the initial reductions in current expenditure. In terms of policy implications, the biggest concern is the large infrastructural deficit that needs to be tackled, arising from austerity cuts in capital expenditure imposed at both central and local government level. As the economy recovers from the Great Recession and the subsequent era of austerity, failure to address this problem will hinder Ireland’s international competitiveness, constrain the economy’s future growth rate and result in impoverishment of public services at local level.
Ringa Raudla, Aleksandrs Cepilovs, Rainer Kattel and Linda Sutt
Our paper explores how a rule prescribed by the European Union can bring about changes in the policy discourse of a member state. Drawing on the literatures of discursive institutionalism and Europeanization, the theoretical part discusses the factors that influence discursive shifts. The empirical part examines the discursive impacts of the introduction of the structural budget deficit rule, required by the Fiscal Compact, in Estonia and Latvia. It demonstrates how the discursive shifts have been shaped by the localized translations offered by civil servants, the entrance of additional actors to the policy-making arena, crisis experience, and the strategic interests of policy actors.