What is the role of the state in distributing research money? How do ‘arm’s-length’ funding agencies relate to public policy and business? This original study looks at the main social science funding agency in the UK, which was established 50 years ago. It examines how funding decisions are related to power. The ‘critical’ and ‘policy’ aspects of successful research bids are discussed. Walker asks the tricky question, why has social science research not achieved a more salient role in state policy formation and management strategy: is the funding agency responsible? Insightful, engrossing and highly original, the book will be required reading for anyone who has written or will write a Social Science research bid and, more widely, for students of power, knowledge and culture.
In 50 years the UK’s social science research funder has paid for prodigious amounts of knowledge. But ‘for whom’ and ‘for what’ are questions too rarely posed since its birth in the optimistic social democratic circumstances of the mid-1960s. Its history pivots around producing knowledge that passes muster among academics in their disciplines and expecting social science research to address specific problems in economy and society. At its birth, warnings were heard about ‘exaggerated claims’ by the social sciences. They were prescient. The knowledge it pays for is, often, antinomian, autistic and disconnected from the rest of the state’s apparatus for generating socio-economic insight.
If you believe academics are disinterested seekers after knowledge, this book may annoy you. If you see universities as repositories ...