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Review 2 of "The politics of being an ‘expert’: a critical realist auto-ethnography of drug policy advisory panels in the UK"

...Qualitative...Criminology

Published onNov 02, 2020
Review 2 of "The politics of being an ‘expert’: a critical realist auto-ethnography of drug policy advisory panels in the UK"

Vote: Publishing pending minor changes


[Please explain your vote. If you voted to publish pending minor changes, specify each change, why it is needed, and, possibly, how it should/could be done.]

I tend to accept any article which makes me think 'wish I'd read this before I'd written ...' This article would have strengthened a chapter I have just submitted about the challenges of involving affected communities in criminal justice policy. As such, I can see the value and originality of the article, which is clearly written, interesting and gives us an insight into a process that most academics are engaged with, even if only consuming the outputs, but few have access to (and why we are excluded is neatly explained in the article). The method is solid and I liked the discussion of ethics, which are well justified.

While it reads well, it needs one last proof read. I spotted a couple of typos (p.3 attempt, p.8 is it valentine or Valentine) and, the reference list needs a skim for consistency.

Page 3 – the paragraph ‘for readers not familiar …’. I felt that this paragraph cut the flow of the narrative and could have been moved to a footnote, or one paragraph down.

Page 6 – The analysis hints that there were inherent biases in selection - class, gender and race – but these are seldom explored beyond this page. It’s possible that these biases also reflect wider issues in academia.  I don’t think this needs much, maybe a paragraph reflecting on inclusion / exclusion in academia.

Page 8 – there is a growing literature on involving people who use drugs in policy. A quick reference to some of this literature could strengthen this part of the article and the overall argument that certain voices are excluded. You could mention the consistent finding that people who use drugs hold nuanced views and exhibit diverse opinions. It seems from this account that people are chosen who exhibit narrower views which conform pre-existing views?

Page 15 – ‘a reflexively sociological analysis …’ – this paragraph hangs a little without really going anywhere. It could either signpost to the discussion on page 16, or the two paragraphs could be merged. 

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