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Depoliticisation, post-politics and the problem of change

Buller, Jim; Dönmez, Pınar E.; Standring, Adam; Wood, Matthew


Jim Buller

Pinar Donmez
Senior Lecturer in Politics & International Relations

Adam Standring

Matthew Wood


Jim Buller

Adam Standring

Matthew Wood


This chapter reviews the existing literature on depoliticisation and assesses its utility for exploring the contingent nature of this phenomenon. In essence, it makes two claims. First, while a number of contrasting definitions exist in the scholarship on depoliticisation, they can be grouped under two main headings: (a) as a systemic condition that imbues the whole of society; (b) as a more specific governing strategy that originates at the state level but then influences groups at the societal level. Second, while both these approaches have much to commend them, they suffer from limitations when it comes to making sense of the unpredictable and potentially reversible nature of depoliticisation as a process. Systemic accounts are too broad and all-encompassing, appearing to offer very little space for depoliticisation to be resisted. Conversely, a conception of depoliticisation as a governing strategy is too narrow. Focussing as it does on state elites and how they propagate this form of political rule, this definition of depoliticisation neglects the importance of societal actors, who are surely most likely to pose a challenge to such a governing technique. The chapter concludes by listing a range of questions designed to help the contributors to this volume explore theoretically and empirically the dynamics of depoliticisation.


Buller, J., Dönmez, P. E., Standring, A., & Wood, M. (2018). Depoliticisation, post-politics and the problem of change. In J. Buller, P. E. Dönmez, A. Standring, & M. Wood (Eds.), Comparing Strategies of (De)Politicisation in Europe, (1-24). Palgrave Macmillan- Springer International Publishing.

Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2018
Publication Date Jul 3, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 4, 2019
Pages 1-24
Book Title Comparing Strategies of (De)Politicisation in Europe
Chapter Number 1
Public URL