Rosie Anderson has now left What Works Scotland

Rosie Anderson joined What Works Scotland as a Research Fellow in April 2015.

She looked the way the concept of emotional labour can help practitioners think about the process of making policy.

About Rosie’s research

This work applied the findings of her recent doctoral thesis, an ethnography of reason and emotion in policy-making which she researched and wrote at Edinburgh University between 2011 and 2015.

Her fieldwork involved participant observation at a Scottish NGO’s policy team, and took her to community centres, public events, action research groups, Holyrood and beyond to study how people who make policy together think about emotion in their working lives.

Her research grew out of her own professional background as a policy manager for a UK-wide third sector membership organisation and, before that, as a broadcast journalist in London, Glasgow and Cardiff. She was responsible for a wide-ranging programme of research and policy activities about the small to medium community sector, and this work gave her experience of the formal and informal ways that policy and politics happen in many different settings, from Westminster Select Committees to local planning partnerships.

She became interested in the way that human relations frame and structure governance, and particularly the creation of shared narratives about cause and effect and morality in policy.

Her subsequent doctoral research provided two key insights:

The first is that, far from being merely irrational, the idea of the emotional in public life refers to particular sorts of knowledge and ways of relating to the world, each other and to the effects of specific policies which are considered both useful and necessary to making ‘good’ decisions by participants from a range of backgrounds.

The other is that because of this making policy is inherently emotional work, and that this has a profound influence on the way that policies do and do not get made and the wellbeing of the people involved.

It is this last point that she explored with What Works Scotland’s partners, asking how this emotional work might be acknowledged and supported.

Publications for What Works Scotland

Blog posts for What Works Scotland