Dr Karen West

Reader in Public Policy

Karen West

Karen joined Aston in 2004 from the London School of Economics where she had been a research associate and ESRC-funded postdoctoral research fellow.  Karen’s research interests are in critical policy analysis, drawing in particular on post-structuralist discourse theory, ontological politics and French pragmatism.  With colleagues from Sweden and Turkey, she recently led a panel at the 8th Interpretive Policy Analysis conference on the intersection of ethnography and post-structuralism.  She is interested in the form and durability of ideologies in use in policy and their effects on the subjects of public policies and, to that end, has become increasingly interested in psycho-social research approaches and methods.  Karen’s substantive research focus is on health, social care and the policy and politics of ageing.  She is currently involved in two ageing-related research projects: one which examines life in retirement communities, funded by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust; and the other which examines the extension of working life in a context of recession and austerity, funded by the European Commission.  She has also held visiting positions at the University of Umeå’s Ageing and Living Conditions Centre.  Karen has taught across all levels – under-graduate, post-graduate, and continuing professional development – and has supervised a number of PhD theses to successful completion.  She was previously director of the PhD programme in the School of Languages and Social Sciences and is currently director of undergraduate programmes in Sociology and Policy.

Undergraduate modules

  • LK1011 Becoming a Social Scientist
  • LK1012 Social Problems and Public Policies (A): Making and Implementing Polices
  • LK3006 Ageing, Society, Policy

Postgraduate Modules

  • LBM005 Social Policy: Contemporary Themes and Challenges


  • Research Methods and Skills

Peer reviewed journal articles

Book sections

Glynos, J., West, K., Hagger, B. and Shaw, R. (2014, forthcoming)’ Narrative, Fantasy, and Mourning: A Critical Exploration of Life & Loss in Assisted Living Environments’, in Fotaki, M. and Kenny, K. (eds) The Psychosocial and Organization Studies: Affect at Work.

West, K. (2014, forthcoming) ‘Older people, population ageing and policy responses’ in Bochel, H. and Daly, G (eds) Social Policy(3rd edition), Routledge.

West, K. (2007) Intermunicipal cooperation in France: incentives, instrumentality and ‘coquilles vides, in Hulst, R and Van Montfort, A, Intermunicipal Cooperation in Europe, Kluwer/Springer.

Thornley, A and West, K. (2005) ‘The contribution of the Greater London Authority to London’s Strategic PlanningAgenda’, in Johnstone, C. and Whitehead, M, New Horizons in British Urban Planning, Ashgate.

Book Reviews

West, K. (2013) Review of Hugh T. Miller ‘Governing narratives.  Symbolic politics and policy change’ Critical Policy Studiesvol 7/3: pp. 364-371.

West, K., Review (2008) of John Loughlin, Subnational Government: The French Experience, Public Administration, Vol 86/4:1139-1140.

West, K, (2008) Review of Harald Baldersheim and Hellmut Wollmann (eds), The Comparative Study of Local Government and Politics: Overview and Synthesis, Public Administration, Vol 86/3: 871-872

Room: NW 925
Phone: 0121 204 3194
Email: k.west@aston.ac.uk