Dr Mark Roberts

Job: Lecturer and Research Fellow

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Department of Politics & Public Policy

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7260

E: m.roberts@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/pol

 

Personal profile

Dr Mark Roberts has been a Research Fellow and Lecturer at De Montfort University since 2008. During this time he has completed a great deal of field research on urban politics, partnership governance and the development of neighbourhood structures in Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham and Leicester. In 2011 Mark successfully bid for a £120,000 award from the Arts and Humanities Council and the RSA to conduct a collaborative research project on ‘Understanding the impacts of citizen participation in Peterborough’. As sole researcher on this project, he is currently producing a range of outputs including a series of academic papers which will be put forward for the next REF. During 2013 Mark also published his first book in co-authorship with Professor Vivien Lowndes of Nottingham University: ‘Why Institutions Matter: The New Institutionalism in Political Science’ in the Palgrave Macmillan Political Analysis series.

Before joining De Montfort University Mark completed his PhD at INLOGOV at the University of Birmingham, and for 29 years before he began an academic career, Mark worked in local authority social work and was Head of Child Care in Sandwell MBC from 1997 to 2003. Dr Roberts has also completed consultancy work for the Football Association in Soho Square London on their equal opportunities policies and strategies for bringing more people from ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups into the administration of football.

Publications and outputs 

  • Local Government in England: Centralisation, Autonomy and Control
    Local Government in England: Centralisation, Autonomy and Control Copus, Colin; Roberts, Mark; Wall, Rachel The book explores the claim that English local government exists in one of the most centralised relationships with national government. Such a position fundamentally undermines any notion of local self-government and makes the term ‘government’ in local government a misnomer. The book will examine how the erosion of the autonomy, powers, roles, functions and responsibilities of English local government came about, the arguments of centralisers and localisers to support their view of the constitutional status of local government, and its overall role in the government of England. The book offers an antidote to the onward march of centralisation by offering a new vision of local government which emphasises both ‘local’ and ‘government’.
  • Communication breakdown: understanding the role of policy narratives in conflict and consensus
    Communication breakdown: understanding the role of policy narratives in conflict and consensus Roberts, Mark At the heart of this paper is an analysis of a policy initiative in ‘Citizen Power’ promoted by a city council, which began with apparent consensus and widespread support, but quickly became embroiled in conflict and recrimination. The theory developed to explain these paradoxical outcomes focusses on the policy narratives which shaped those actors’ thoughts and actions before and during the crucial period. A conceptual framework is derived from the literature which highlights the constraining and performative characteristics of policy narratives. A detailed analysis uses a dramaturgical approach to present the case study and show how processes of narrative constraint and performance produce a particular ‘mix’ of conflict and consensus in each of three Acts. The conclusion to the paper suggests that political actors often find it so difficult to communicate with one another, because they do not share a common narrative base which goes so far back in time that it is practically inaccessible to the other party. Hence long, drawn out battles over meaning may be fought out, not consciously or necessarily with malicious intent, but because the two sides simply do not understand each other. The research project was part of the Research Councils’ Connected Communities Research Programme, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and its Citizen Power in Peterborough Project. The author gratefully acknowledges the support of both parties and of all the other partners in the Citizen Power in Peterborough project. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Why Institutions Matter: The New Institutionalism in Political Science
    Why Institutions Matter: The New Institutionalism in Political Science Lowndes, Vivien; Roberts, Mark
  • From Neighbourhood Governance to Neighbourhood Management: A 'Roll-Out' Neo-Liberal Design for Devolved Governance in the United Kingdom?
    From Neighbourhood Governance to Neighbourhood Management: A 'Roll-Out' Neo-Liberal Design for Devolved Governance in the United Kingdom? Griggs, Steven; Roberts, Mark
  • Exploring the local political context of the recession
    Exploring the local political context of the recession Leach, Steve; Roberts, Mark
  • Partnership governance and democratic effectiveness: community leaders and public managers as dual intermediaries
    Partnership governance and democratic effectiveness: community leaders and public managers as dual intermediaries Munro, H; Roberts, Mark; Skelcher, Chris Commended by the judges of the 2009 UKPAC prize for the paper which offers the greatest contribution to taking forward the concepts or practice of public administration

Click here to view a full listing of Dr Mark Roberts' publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

  • 20,000 word report on ‘The AHRC/RSA Citizen Power in Peterborough collaborative research project: Understanding the impacts of citizen participation in Peterborough’ submitted to the RSA, AHRC and Peterborough City Council.
  • A five minute animation produced in collaboration with the RSA for a wider audience. This is an animation specifically commissioned by the award holder and the RSA to explain to a non-academic audience what the research project was about and its key findings. It has been posted on Vimeo and the RSA website: http://www.thersa.org/action-research-centre/community-and-public-services/citizen-power

Research interests/expertise

  • Urban politics
  • Race, immigration and faith in politics
  • Neighbourhood governance and the devolution of power
  • Citizen and community power
  • The development and practical applications of institutional theory
  • Managing organisational change from a political perspective
  • Demonstrating the practical applications of political analysis to realpolitik.

Qualifications

2004-2008  PhD in Local Government Birmingham University
1995-97  MSc in Public Sector Management Aston Business School, Aston University
1976-78 MA (Social Sciences) and Certificate of Qualification in Social Work Nottingham University
1971-74 BA Psychology (2.1) Sheffield University

Courses taught

  • Introduction to Politics
  • Global Comparative Politics
  • The Politics of the Environment
  • Public Sector Strategic Management
  • Governance

Honours and awards

  • PhD thesis recommended by the external examiner for nomination for a best dissertation prize from the Political Studies Association
  • Munro H, M Roberts and C Skelcher (Jan 2008) Partnership governance and democratic effectiveness: community leaders and public managers as strategic actors Public Policy and Administration Volume 23 Number 1- commended by the judges of the 2009 UKPAC prize for the paper which offers the greatest contribution to taking forward the concepts or practice of public administration.
  • Aston University Business School’s Public Sector Management Prize for the best student from the MSc Public Sector Management Programme to graduate in the academic year 1996-97.

Current research students

Mark is currently second supervisor for two PhD students at De Montfort University.

Externally funded research grants information

  • PI and sole researcher on AHRC/RSA Citizen Power in Peterborough collaborative research project: Understanding the impacts of citizen participation in Peterborough (£120,000)
  • Derby Community Safety Partnership - Evaluation of Neighbourhood Working in Derby with Professor Steve Leach and Dr Catherine Durose (De Montfort University) – 2009/2010
  • ‘The Ensuring Council; A new model for governance, neighbourhoods and service delivery’ - the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) on Neighbourhood Structures in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Nottingham with Dr Steven Griggs (Birmingham University) – January to August 2009.

Professional esteem indicators

Reviewer for the following peer review academic journals:

  • Critical Policy Studies
  • Political Studies

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