Global Platform of International Public Policies

Into the ordinary: non-elite actors and the mobility of harm reduction policies

Research on policy transfer and policy mobility has focused much attention on relatively elite actors, such as politicians, international organisations, think tanks, philanthropic donors, and consultancy firms. In contrast, this article uses the case of ‘harm reduction’ drug policy, an area of practice and research that is committed to valuing ‘non-elite’ actors, to show how they are frequently involved in mobilizing policy knowledge. Focusing on the role of service providers, activists and service users in the mobilization of harm reduction models, the paper discusses four key practices associated with these non-elite actors: cooperation, convergence, disobedience and display. The article argues that the deep involvement of relatively non-elite actors in mobilizing harm reduction policies means that multi-disciplinary scholarship would be enriched by going ‘into the ordinary’ in a wide range of policy contexts.

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Prof. Osmany Porto

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