Rick Harmes

Department: Social Sciences & International Studies
Discipline: Politics

Project Summary

Localism and the Design of Political Systems

My thesis and book of the same name (see list of publications below) examine localism as a political idea and policy approach. Illustrated with case studies drawn from the United Kingdom, mainland Europe and the Indian sub-continent, both works analyse localism in conceptual and theoretical terms, locating it within the overall landscape of political thought. Key themes covered include place, space and scale; decentralization and devolution; multi-level governance; public value; democracy and empowerment; and politiical design. With their focus on the bottom-up, constructivist aspects of localism, both argue that it is most likely to operate best within a political order where sovereignty is 'distributed' across various social spheres and levels of government. Both offer a comprehensive view of localism by synthesizing its many strands and creating a distinctive framework for design and evaluation. 


2021: Localism and the Design of Political Systems, Routledge, 192pp

2019: 'Localism and Multi-Level Governance on the Indian Sub-Continent', paper presented at the PSA Annual Conference, Nottingham (available on Academia.edu)

2019: 'The Politics of State Reorganization: The Changing Structures of UK Central Government Departments', paper presented at the PSA  Annual Conference, Nottingham (with Dr Clare Maudling)

2017: Localism and the Design of Political Systems, Exeter University PhD thesis (available on the Exeter University research website) 

2015: 'Community Energy in Question: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally', paper presented at the PSA  Annual Conference, Sheffield (available on Academia.edu)

2013: 'Place, Governance and Sustainability', paper presented at the ECPR Summer School, Keele (available on Academia.edu)

2012: 'Localism and Strategy: A New Multi-Level Governance for England's Counties?, paper presented at the IPSA World Congress, Madrid (availalble on Academia.edu)

Wider Research Interests

Social and Political Theory; Constitutionalism; Public Value and Soft Power; Multi-level Governance; European and Indian Politics; Economic and Financial Policy; Environmental Policy and Sustainability; Human Development and Public Services; Local and Sub-national Government; Localism