THE new orthodoxy: THE differentiated polity model

David Marsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)


    Anthony King (1989, p. 97) argued some time ago that: 'most of Britain's best political scientists (...) are for some reason journalists'. This is a claim which could only be made by someone who thinks that understanding, or explaining, politics merely revolves around knowing what happens at the centre of power. It neglects the point that facts do not speak for themselves; rather, they have to be interpreted within a conceptual or theoretical framework. Such theoretical frameworks are, for the most part, conspicuous by their absence in work on British politics. This point is amply illustrated by the most recent survey of work on British politics, Flinders (2009), The Oxford Handbook of British Politics, which almost totally neglects broader ways of conceptualizing British politics that would allow us to situate some of the individual chapters against a wider background. There are nine references to the, once ubiquitous, Westminster model, but these are all in two chapters, Dennis Kavanagh's chapter 'Antecedents' and Oliver James' chapter 'Central State'. Only James discusses recent alternatives to the Westminster model and, although he deals with interpretivist critiques, there is no reference to the 'differentiated polity model' in the book's index, let alone to the asymmetric power model, two of the positions considered here. Rod Rhodes' work provides a very important exception to that omission, which has stimulated a great deal of interest and encouraged younger scholars to move away from description and fairly mindless empiricism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-48
    Number of pages17
    JournalPublic Administration
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


    Dive into the research topics of 'THE new orthodoxy: THE differentiated polity model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this