“Shaping policy makers’ emotional engagements with behaviour change”

Jessica Pykett, Rachel Howell, Rachel Lilley, Rhys Jones, Mark Whitehead

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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‘Behaviour change’ has become something of a policy panacea across a range of social policy sectors worldwide. There is of course nothing new about the shaping of citizenly conduct. Sophisticated tools of persuasion and more blunt tools of compulsion have long been deployed by state authorities and non-state actors alike. But since at least the mid-2000s, concerted efforts have been made by several national governments to better understand the psychological parameters of decision-making contexts and ingrained human biases. The chapter focuses on participatory action research which the authors undertook with a group of Welsh Government civil servants in Cardiff and Aberystwyth in 2014. This was part of a larger research project on ‘Negotiating Neuroliberalism’ within policy contexts, which has examined the human subject is being re-conceptualised as vulnerable to cognitive biases, mental shortcuts and irrationality – and thus amenable to a wide range of hitherto untested behaviour change techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotional States
Subtitle of host publicationSites and Spaces of Affective Governance
Editorseleanor jupp, jessica pykett, fiona smith
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)978-1-4724-5405-8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • emotions
  • governance
  • Social policy
  • geography
  • politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science


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