‘The Changing Politics of Blame Games and Claiming Credit’


The British Journal of Politics and International Relations(BJPIR) has published a call for special issues with a deadline of 1 September 2020 for publication in 2021. Matthew Flinders (University of Sheffield), R. A. W. Rhodes (University of Southampton) and Gergana Dimova (University of Winchester) are planning to apply for a special edition slot that will be themed around the topic of ‘blames games and claiming credit’. As part of this process, the prospective editors are now keen to accept ‘expressions of interest’ in the form of abstracts from potential contributors to this special issue. An outline abstract for this collection and further details are provided below.


From coping with the Coronavirus crisis thorough to debates concerning historical injustices and embedded social inequalities, not to mention Brexit and the UK’s future role and position in the world,a number of contemporary socio-political issues have all in their own ways focused attention on both blame games and claiming credit. The manner in which these issues have involved temporal dimensions, multi-levelled relationships and strong emotional allegiances creates both challenges and opportunities for the social and political sciences in terms of mapping, interrogating and understanding the attribution of blame or statements of success in complex and fast-moving environments. It is exactly this context that this special edition focuses on developing the analytical traction and theoretical leverage of existing approaches to understanding ‘the politics of blame games and claiming credit’. A flexible and pluralistic approach is taken in terms of defining this intellectual terrain and contributions are particularly welcome that draw upon insights from a variety of disciplines, that utilise a range of methods and which draw upon empirical material from beyond the UK.



The BJPIR is a top-ranked peer-reviewed international journal and prospective papers will therefore be assessed through a rigorous selection process that involves several stages. The first stage involves the submission of an abstract that outlines the main argument and focus of your proposed article in no more than 250 words. This should be sent to with a full list of authors and their institutional affiliations by Friday 31 July 2020. The editors will then undertake a review process and select no more than twenty submissions to be taken forward to the second stage which involves inclusion in the final submission to the BJPIR’s editorial advisory board by 1 September. If our application for a special issue is successful we will know by the end of September and prospective contributions will proceed to the third stage. This revolves around the submission of a full manuscript (max 8,000 words)that abides to the journal’s style guide by an agreed date in mid/late 2021. It must be underlined that an invitation to submit a full manuscript is not a guarantee of acceptance and all contributions will be expected to progress through a standard double-blind peer review process. The editors’ decisions about individual manuscripts will be final but it is expected that the final volume will include up to 14 articles. It is expected that an on-line workshop will be held in April 2021 to review and discuss potential papers.


Proposals that emphasise innovation in terms of theory, methods or approach are particularly encouraged. The aim of this special issue is that it become a defining reference point within the social and political sciences for anyone interested in (inter alia) notions of blame, scrutiny, accountability, scapegoating, policy-making, and innovations in democracy. Our approach to blame games and claiming credit includes (but is not limited to): domestic and international drivers; economic, cultural and cognitive dimensions; as well as their manifestations viewed through the prism of environmental, gendered, psychological, philosophical, historical and ethnographic approaches.



Potential article abstracts should be sent to by 17.00 on Friday 31 July 2020.


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