Discretion and the Quest for Controlled Freedom

  • Tony Evans
  • Peter Hupe

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Tony Evans, Peter Hupe
    Pages 1-13
  3. Discretion in Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Peter Hupe, Tony Evans
      Pages 17-22
    3. Christopher Hood
      Pages 23-40
    4. Mark Hardy
      Pages 41-61
    5. Evelyn Z. Brodkin
      Pages 63-78
    6. Greg Marston, Danielle Davidson
      Pages 93-110
  4. Perspectives on Discretion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-111
    2. Tony Evans, Peter Hupe
      Pages 113-119
    3. Peter Mascini
      Pages 121-141
    4. Dirk J. Wolfson
      Pages 143-161
    5. Lars Tummers, Victor Bekkers
      Pages 163-176
    6. Zachary W. Oberfield
      Pages 177-191
    7. Hannah Jobling
      Pages 193-210
  5. Discretion in Governance

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 211-211
    2. Peter Hupe, Tony Evans
      Pages 213-220
    3. Paul du Gay, Kirstine Zinck Pedersen
      Pages 221-236
    4. Peter Hupe, Michael Hill
      Pages 237-258
    5. Hendrik Wagenaar
      Pages 259-277
    6. Suzanne Rutz, Antoinette de Bont
      Pages 279-294
    7. Catherine Needham
      Pages 295-312
    8. Stavros Zouridis, Marlies van Eck, Mark Bovens
      Pages 313-329
  6. Practising Freedom and Control

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 331-331
    2. Tony Evans, Peter Hupe
      Pages 333-338
    3. Michael Luntley
      Pages 339-356
    4. Tony Evans
      Pages 357-375
    5. Tony Evans
      Pages 377-391
    6. Gideon Calder
      Pages 393-407
    7. Peter Hupe, Tony Evans
      Pages 409-428
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 429-437

About this book


‘This is an essential compendium for scholars and practitioners who seek to understand the role of discretion as a fundamental element of laws, rules, and social norms. Scholarly perspectives and practical insights are enriched through consideration of the exercise, limits, and abuse of discretion in governing, organizations, and professional practice. The distinguished set of authors makes this an impressive undertaking.’

–Peter J. May, Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, USA

‘This volume addresses some of the very important practice dilemmas for professionals in our time. It provides a road map for navigating the contours of working the spaces between the restrictions of rules and the responsiveness to people in shifting contexts. It gives us hope and ways to move forward. A must-read for every professional.’

–Jan Fook, Professor and Chair, Department of Social Work, University of Vermont, USA

Looking at discretion broadly as the exercise of controlled freedom, this edited volume introduces insights from a range of social sciences perspectives. Traditionally, discussions of discretion have drawn on legal notions of the appropriate exercise of legitimate authority specified by legislators. However, empirical and theoretical studies in the social sciences have extended our understanding of discretion, moving us beyond a narrow legal view. Contributors from a range of disciplines explore the idea of discretion and related notions of freedom and control across social and political practices and in different contexts. As this complex and important topic is discussed and examined, both total control and unconstrained freedom appear to be illusions.

Tony Evans is Professor of Social Work at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. His research interests focus on professional practice and policy work in adult social care.

Peter Hupe is Visiting Professor at the Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium. He is also Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. His research focuses on the theoretical-empirical study of public policy processes, particularly policy implementation and street-level bureaucracy.


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Editors and affiliations

  • Tony Evans
    • 1
  • Peter Hupe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Public Governance InstituteCatholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Bibliographic information

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