How losers can turn into winners in disputatious public policy: a heuristic for prospective herestheticians

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Political Science, 2019, 54 (1), pp. 167 - 182
Issue Date:
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© 2018, © 2018 Australian Political Studies Association. The study of heresthetic is a quest to explain how potential political losers might become winners. Local Government amalgamation is invariably a controversial and hotly contested political decision. It thus represents the ideal context to locate a pedagogical discussion regarding how clever herestheticians might act to bring about unlikely political success. Specifically, we extend the heresthetic literature by drawing attention to the costs (opportunity, contingency and legacy costs) inherent to various strategies, the need to carefully evaluate the heresthetic potential of different dimensions according to which amalgamations might be argued, and the importance of ensuring that the rhetorical seasoning is appropriate. This leads us to propose a heuristic that we argue has the potential to turn losers into winners on the vexed matter of local government amalgamations. We conclude by considering the implications of our heuristic for both prospective herestheticians in other public policy areas and for the wider heresthetic research agenda.
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