An article on The European Commission website, Stepping up the fight against poverty and social exclusion, says

‘The Commission now wants to promote innovation in social policy, using small projects to evaluate potential new policies or reforms. The aim is for EU countries to learn from each others’ experiences, and ultimately fine tune their social policies so that they have more of an impact.’


I think sharing information about the impact of policies and reforms is important, but I am not that sure how the outcomes from one place would ever be able to ‘fine tune’ policies in some rather different countries.

I think isomorphic mimicry is a problem, and I am really not sure that we ever have enough information about the social world to know which contexts are the same as each other. Perhaps this is why I really should not be in an applied school? It turns out I cannot even come up with a way to fit any aspect of my project into any of the poster categories for my school’s symposium next year. Not that I am too distressed, at the moment I am quite happy to work on answering my questions and leave saving the world to somebody else.

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2 Responses to “”

  1. Tomboktu Says:

    Thanks for drawing my attention to the Commission’s latest. (I will, with interest, read the EAPN’s analysis!)

    A bit of my work involves EU-related sharing of knowledge and information, in a different social policy area from this one, but with a different objective. I have yet to see any ideas being taken up, either bu my employer, or by other national bodies. I agree with you that this sharing is unlikely to ever help fine tuning in different contexts. (But I do enjoy the opportunity to travel to other European cities!)

    • Tracey Says:

      I’d be interested to hear what you find in and think of the analysis. Sounds like a great job.

      Hopefully the writers were not thinking of ‘fine tuning’ in the way I read it. I just get rather annoyed when you see funding for great programs justified on the basis of it being a pilot, implying that they can then roll it out elsewhere for less money and expect the same results.

      One of the best things I ever heard was somebody speaking about knowledge translation (between academic and health policy contexts). She said something to the effect that good knowledge does not need to be translated, if it needs to be translated then it is probably not really knowledge.

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