Policy Briefs and Research Summaries

Professor Urszula Clark: Linguistic variation in English and sociocultural identity
There is a tendency for regional and social dialects of British English to increasingly resemble each other and in some cases, to become ever more like standard English, particularly in terms of grammar and vocabulary. At the same time, how we speak is an integral part of who we are. Even though regional dialects of English are becoming increasingly levelled, features of regional dialects still persist in regions of the UK today. This research explores this phenomena with reference to how people draw upon linguistic variation to resist social and economic change in the context of performance texts and draws out its broader significance for the teaching of standard English in schools.
Dr Stephanie Decker: Negotiating Inequality in Large Infrastructure Investment Projects: A long-run case study of the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) in Ghana, 1958-2003
Business in independent Africa has generally faced a higher level of political risk than in other regions, which has led to poor levels of economic and social development on the continent. In International Business and International Political Economy, Africa’s problematic management of its economic capacity has been explained either as a result of an Obsolescing Bargain (OB) or as a resource curse. The OB model holds that bargaining power will shift from the investor to the host country once investment has been sunk, allowing poor countries to hold international investors ransom. In the 1990s, the OB model has fallen out of favour in business studies because it is generally perceived to explain investor-government relations until the 1980s, but then the dynamics are no longer as frequently observable. According to its critics, the OB model ceases to be relevant because developing country governments accepted a neo-liberal global investment environment.


Dr Demelza Jones: Belonging and identity in the everyday lives of Tamil migrants in the UK
The research explores how Tamil migrants of different state origins come to identify with a ‘Tamil diaspora’ in the UK and illustrates the value of studying diaspora as a permeable, non-static process which allows for varying modes and intensities of identification amongst nominally unitary communities.

Dr Demelza Jones: A Super-diverse Diocese: Minority Congregations within the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham
This collaborative project between Demelza Jones at Aston University and Canon Andrew Smith at the Church of England Anglican Diocese of Birmingham, explores the use of Anglican Diocese-owned church spaces within the Birmingham city-region by ethnically, nationally and linguistically diverse congregations.

Dr Katherine Tonkiss: The Policy Role of Migration Rights Organisations in the UK and Australia
Immigration is one of the most contested and controversial fields of public policy. In the UK, as in many countries around the world, the rights of migrants have been eroded in recent years in a climate of strengthening anti-immigration sentiment amongst the general public and an elite ready to capitalise on fear to scapegoat migrants. Yet migration has proven near impossible to manage as a result of the growth of international labour markets and due to the vast numbers of refugees fleeing war and persecution. Protecting the rights of refugees, and of migrants who are vulnerable to exploitation and live in conditions of precarity and instability, has never been more pressing. Migration rights organisations – charities, civil society organisations and other non-governmental actors working for the rights of migrants – are key actors campaigning for fairer migration policy in national political debates. We don’t, however, know much about how these organisations engage in policy debates, and very little work has examined them in international comparative perspective. This research aimed to address this gap by exploring the ways in which domestic migration rights organisations engage in national level policy debates in the UK and Australia, and the opportunities and barriers they encounter in doing so.
George Amakor: Unmarried Young Mothers in South-eastern Nigeria: Attitudes and Experiences
The research has four major aims: to raise awareness of the challenges unmarried young mothers face in the region; provide a resource to encourage parents to be more open in discussing sex with their children; engage community and government agencies to make support services more readily accessible to young people; and encourage local churches to show greater understanding towards young unmarried mothers.

Dr Stefan Manz:
Constructing a German Diaspora. The ‘Greater German Empire’, 1871-1914
This book takes on a global perspective to unravel the complex relationship between Imperial
Germany and its diaspora. Around 1900, German-speakers living abroad were tied into global power-political aspirations. They were represented as outposts of a "Greater German Empire" whose ethnic links had to be preserved for their own and the fatherland’s benefits. Did these ideas fall on fertile ground abroad?

Dr Stefan Manz: Enemies in the Empire. Interning German ‘Enemy Aliens’ in the British Empire, 1914-1918
On the eve of the First World War, Germans had settled as sizeable minority groups in all parts of the British Empire. Following the outbreak of war, many were classified as ‘enemy aliens’ and faced internment. An extensive network of camps was set up throughout the Empire, including, for example, Knockaloe on the Isle of Man, Castle Mountain in Canada, Holsworthy in Australia, Fort Napier in South Africa, and Ahmednagar in India. Existing scholarship describes these camps in an isolated way within their local or national contexts. This ongoing project is the first to analyse underlying patterns, state policies and experiences of internment on an imperial and global scale.
Dr Gary Fooks & Dr Tom MillsHow much does European Regulation cost UK Business?
Concerns over the effect of EU regulations on business competitiveness have been a major driver of Euroscepticism. The Leave Campaign argued that EU regulations cost UK businesses £33.3 billion a year, and that government claims about their benefits were overstated.
The £33.3 billion figure is the latest of several estimates of the costs and benefits of EU-derived regulation, which use UK government impact assessments as a data source. But how reliable are these assessments and the cost and benefit estimates based on them?
An in-depth analysis suggests that the data underlying the headline figure are too uncertain to provide reliable estimates of actual costs. In addition to these uncertainties, the methodology used is, on balance, likely to overestimate the direct costs of EU regulation and to systematically overlook and under-cost benefits. The research highlights the importance of collating accurate information on the costs and benefits of EU regulation and disregarding general estimates in policy discussions.

Dr Gary Fooks: Controlling corporate influence? An assessment of WHO FCTC Article 5.3 implimentation
Research conducted by researchers from Aston University, Simon Fraser University and the University of York has assessed implementation of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which aims to prevent tobacco industry influence in heath policy. The findings highlight that there has been only limited implementation of the Article’s Guidelines for Implementation, allowing continued opportunities for tobacco industry influence. This is likely to weaken implementation of the Treaty as a whole. The study makes policy recommendations to strengthen implementation of Article 5.3 and highlights the need to revise the guidelines.

Dr Gary Fooks: Standardised Tobacco Packaging: a health policy case study of corporate conflict expansion and adaptation
Research conducted by an interdisciplinary group of researchers from the Universities of Bath and Aston has examined tobacco industry political activity during the lead up to the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products in the UK (2015). The findings highlight the key role tobacco companies played in expanding the policy conflict through financial subsidies to opponents of the policy and by underwriting public campaigns aimed at bringing large numbers of ordinary people into the conflict. The study has several important implications for implementation of Article 5.3 the World Health Organization Framework on Tobacco Control, which aims to prevent tobacco industry interference in health policy.

Dr Gary FooksLINK

由阿斯顿大学、西蒙弗雷泽大学与约克大学的研究人员进行的研究评估了《世界卫生组织烟草控制框架公约》(WHO FCTC)第5.3条实施准则。此公约旨在控制烟草的广泛流行对公共卫生政策的影响。调查结果强调《公约》指导方针的执行有限,导致烟草业影响力一直持续。这有可能会削弱执行公约的总体效果。本研究建议加强第5.3条实施准则并强调了修改指导方针的必要性  

Dr Gary Fooks: LINK

Como sin duda sabrá, la participación de la industria del tabaco en la elaboración de políticas representa el obstáculo fundamental para una firme puesta en marcha de las medidas presentadas en el contexto del Convenio Marco de la OMS para el Control del Tabaco (CMCT). Este año publicamos un estudio de investigación sobre la puesta en marcha de las medidas que los países llevan a cabo para disminuir la influencia ejercida por la industria del tabaco a la hora de implementar políticas de sanidad y que esperamos les sean útiles. El estudio señala de forma relativamente sistemática, los riesgos para la salud pública que se derivan de una deficiente aplicación del Artículo 5.3 de la CMCT y de las directrices de aplicación del mismo.

Este se elaboró teniendo presente a los agentes políticos. Esperamos que sirva como un recurso valioso que proporcione algunos ejemplos de buenas prácticas, así como para señalar cómo la industria debe responder cuando la aplicación del Artículo 5.3 y las directrices para su aplicación sean deficientes. También servirá para alcanzar compromisos más exigentes que lleven a impulsar la aplicación del Artículo 5.3.

He aquí un documento sobre nuestra investigación junto con un documento normativo que resume algunos de sus principales hallazgos. No dude en ponerse en contacto si tiene alguna pregunta al respecto. 

Dr Stephanie Decker: Remembering in Organizations: The Strategic Role of Historical Archives in Commercial Banks
This is an ongoing research project. We are finding a high degree of interest and use of history in UK banks at present, linked to their response to the Financial Crisis as well as crises such as Libor in the UK. We argue that banks currently find their organizational legitimacy challenged and that their response is to use history to stabilize their organizations. In the internationally comparative part of the research, we also propose that the way in which banks have organized their access to the past through archives, which is strikingly different across countries, influences their likelihood to make use of their past in the form of rhetorical histories in response to present-day challenges.

Dr Gary Fooks: Tobacco Industry Political Influence during the Implementation Phase of EU Legislation
This research highlights how tobacco industry interests exploit ambiguously worded legislation to weaken health policy outcomes and draw attention to the policy risks associated with government-industry interactions during policy implementation. The study underlines the importance of national governments taking a proactive role in stipulating technical specifications concerning the new Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) (2014/40/EU) and considering the implications of tobacco industry information carefully, even when such information may be provided in good faith.