chapter  10
16 Pages

Beyond ‘misery research’ – new opportunities for implementation research, policy and practice


Refl ecting on a litany of failed expectations and dashed hopes, Swedish scholar Bo Rothstein dubbed implementation research ‘misery research, a pathology of social sciences’.2 Today, the complex, multi-faceted and often unpredictable nature of the policy implementation process is taken for granted among researchers and policymakers. However, in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, when the US federal government began to extend its policy reach across and into state and local jurisdictions, implementation was not considered in problematic terms; policy was expected to be more or less self-implementing, given necessary resources, regulation and resolve.