How the world changed in 2011

Review of the year

As we approach the end of 2011, it is impossible to ignore the huge impact of a number of global and national events that have happened in the last year. Our Senior Commissioning Editor, Karen Bowler, give us her thoughts about the most significant global news of 2011 and how some of our titles have related to current events:

“To my mind the most significant global news of 2011 has been the shifts of power within the Middle East, from the Tunisian revolution that marked the start of the Arab Spring to the death of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya and continued protest in Tahrir Square during Egypt’s first democratic vote. Social welfare and religion in the Middle East by Rana Jawad examines some of these complex social and political dynamics and how they have shaped social welfare in the Middle East. Based on an in-depth study in Lebanon and supplementary research in Iran, Egypt and Turkey, this book argues that religion is able to provide sophisticated solutions to the major social and economic problems of the Middle East, which have become more prominent on the global stage following this year’s events.

Closer to home financial crises across Europe are shaking the foundations of the European Union and the Eurozone. Recently published Towards a social investment welfare state? edited by Nathalie Morel, Bruno Palier and Joakim Palme examines the ability of the European social investment strategy to regenerate the welfare state and help address the challenges posed by the economic crisis and other global shifts, such as ageing and climate change.

In the UK, May saw the publication of the long-awaited Munro review of child protection. Following a number of high profile child protection failures the review was tasked with finding a way of cutting bureaucracy for social workers while also increasing accountability. In response to the recommendations of this review, Effective safeguarding for children and young people, edited by Maggie Blyth and Enver Solomon, publishing in February 2012, brings together academic and practice experts to review ways forward for safeguarding children.

2011 has been a difficult year for the police, starting with a row between the Police Federation and the Home Secretary about the harsh cuts required following last year’s Spending Review – a news story which has rumbled all year with its impact on frontline police services. The police have also been buffeted by accusations of ineffectual policing of the summer’s riots across England and the reopening of old wounds of poor forensic practice and institutional racism with the Stephen Lawrence murder trial. Read about what chief police officers think in Policing at the top , by Bryn Caless, which provides an overview of who chief police officers are and how they come to their post, and their frank opinions on the challenges facing policing today.

Finally, the Leveson Inquiry into the practice and ethics of the press media continues to cause a stir, just as we have published Democracy under attack. Long-time Guardian Society editor Malcolm Dean provides an insider perspective on how the media undermines democracy, with politics and policy increasingly shaped by the media not just reported by it. A topical and challenging read at a time when it is the media who are under attack.”

Competition: What policy could make a difference in 2012? 

The Policy Press is committed to publishing with a purpose. Our aim is to try to improve social conditions with publications that will make a positive difference to learning and research, policy and practice.

As we enter a new year, we would love to know, in a maximum of 200 words, your answer to the following question:

If you could implement one policy to make a difference to the lives of people in the UK in 2012, what would it be?

It does not necessarily have to be realistic! The entry judged to be the most inspired and/or make the most positive difference will win £20 of vouchers to spend online at . Nigel’s Eco Store aims to make a difference by offering eco friendly yet fun and functional products.

Please send your answer to by 3 January 2012. Please note we may publish your entry on our website, blog, or in future editions of our newsletter.

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