The group takes a broad view of interpretation as encompassing all those interested in exploring beliefs, languages, traditions, and practices as they appear in and construct the political. Relevant approaches include the history of ideas, constructivism, the study of political ideologies, poststructuralism, and qualititative methodologies such as ethnography and narrative analysis. The group also includes researchers studying public policy in ways that reflect an interest in meanings, such as the ‘dramaturgical’, ‘dialogic’ and ‘bottom-up’ models of policymaking.

The aims of the specialist group are:

  • To encourage research deploying interpretive approaches especially historical and ethnographic studies of political beliefs, traditions, and practices.

  • To support the development of collaborative research projects that use interpretive approaches to examine a wide range of cases and materials.

  • To build links with colleagues in continental Europe and the USA.

  • To build links with colleagues employing interpretive approaches in other human sciences such as anthropology, social policy, and sociology.


The PSA’s network of 60 Specialist Groups offers a research focus for all members and covers a vast range of specialities within the discipline. SGs provide an opportunity for groups of academics who share a common interest in a particular area of the discipline to organise meetings, coordinate communications, and as outlets for research – as well as giving PSA members opportunities for developing their academic impact and professional development.”


Convenors can view the SG Handbook here.


If you would like to learn more or have any questions, do get in touch via or with Arianna Giovannini (, the Specialist Groups Trustee

Contact Us

Jack Corbett

Role: Convenor
Institution: University of Southampton

Rod Rhodes

Role: Convenor
Institution: University of Southampton

Anna Killick

Role: Secretary
Institution: University of Southampton



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