Dr Ursula Hackett

Personal profile

I am Senior Lecturer in Politics and Research & Knowledge Exchange Lead for the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. Until August 2019 I held a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship on the politics of vouchers: programmes that transform the state by delegating responsibility for core policy functions to private actors. My research focuses on American Political Development (APD), public policy, federalism, education, and religion and politics.

My Cambridge University Press book – America's Voucher Politics: How Elites Learned to Hide the State (forthcoming, 2020) – explains the explosive growth of school vouchers in the last two decades. In America’s Voucher Politics, I show that the roots of the voucher movement lie in America’s foundational struggles over religion, race, and the role of government versus the private sector. Drawing upon original datasets, archival materials, and more than one hundred candid interviews with policymakers across the United States, I demonstrate that policymakers and political advocates use strategic policy design and rhetoric to hide the role of the state when their policy goals become legally controversial. Patiently, tactically, iteratively – over more than sixty years of voucher litigation – white supremacists, accommodationists, and individualists have honed this strategy of attenuated governance in court. By learning from previous mistakes and anticipating downstream effects, policymakers can avoid painful defeats, gain a secure legal footing, and entrench their policy commitments in spite of the surging power of rivals.

View all (13) »

View all (7) »

ID: 26825935