by Victoria Pittman
17th September 2021

As a publisher we believe that sharing knowledge, research and ideas across boundaries, whether disciplinary or geographical, is essential to addressing the challenges facing the world.  

After five years of building the Bristol University Press brand, we are celebrating the global expansion this has allowed us to achieve, and the effect of that international reach on all of our content.  

 Appreciating the scale of the problems faced across the globe is critical for a social science publisher and it is also vital to our mission as a university press that we are disseminating our publishing to the international scholarly community. Our focus on global social challenges also underlines our support for interdisciplinarity and collaboration to help understand and solve these issues. 

Because of our emphasis on social issues, inequalities and injustice, it has always felt essential for our publishing to reach out widely – both beyond academia and also around the world. Our initial roots in social policy mean that some of our content is specific to a national context , or about organisations or structures within the UK, some of which differ significantly from equivalents in other parts of the world. There are, however, often lessons to be learned. Our titles that engage with practice and those seeking to influence policy have been instrumental to the success of our Press, demonstrating our commitment to real-world impact and to making a difference to people and society.  

As it has grown, Policy Press has expanded from these roots to publish more on global issues, across social policy and related subject areas, with series such as our Ageing in a Global Context and Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy showcasing important and high-quality international research. Policy Press’ internationally-focussed titles include a A Handbook of Food Crime, edited by Allison Gray and Ronald Hinch , winner of the the Choice Outstanding Academic Title award, and, working with the Young Lives team, the Open Access (OA) Tracing the Consequences of Child Poverty: Evidence from the Young Lives Study in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam by Jo Boyden, Andrew Dawes, Paul Dornan and Colin Tredoux. More recently, the edited Rapid Response volumes from Helen Kara and Su-ming Khoo on researching in the age of COVID-19 draw on a range of global case studies. 

The launch of Bristol University Press was an opportunity to strengthen and extend the international reputation of the Press, starting new lists such as Politics and International Relations and Business and Management, focusing on global social challenges and high-quality scholarship from authors and editors worldwide. One of our early titles, Ian Hall’s Modi and the Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy has been widely reviewed and acknowledged as the key work on the subject and was acquired by Penguin Random House for distribution in India. We were also delighted to publish one of the first titles on our International Development list last year, COVID-19 in the Global South, edited by Pádraig Carmody et al. with a range of international contributors. On our Law list, Rethinking Peace Mediation edited by Catherine Turner and Martin Wählisch features real-world examples from across the globe, while in Business and Management, books such as The Growing Challenge of Youth Unemployment in Europe and America by Radha Jagannathan and The Political Economy of Digital Monopolies by Paško Bilić, Toni Prug and Mislav Žitko enable us to fully understand today’s most important global issues. 

Some of our existing lists such as Criminology and Sociology have also grown with the  Bristol University Press expansion and attract a growing number of international authors and research. Our popular New Horizons in Criminology series includes some excellent international titles such as Climate Change Criminology by Rob White, which looks at this critical issue across the globe. Our Sociology of Diversity series features a number of books drawing on research in the US such as The Death of Affirmative Action? by J. Scott Carter and Cameron Lippard and Beer and Racism by Nathaniel Chapman and David Brunsma. Publishing this week is the OA title Global Domestic Workers: Intersectional Inequalities and Struggles for Rights by Sabrina Marchetti, Daniela Cherubini and Giulia Garofalo Geymonat which draws from the EU-funded DomEQUAL research project across nine countries in Europe, South America and Asia, exploring the conditions of domestic workers around the world and the campaigns they are conducting to improve their labour rights. Social Movements and Politics in a Global Pandemic, edited by Breno Bringel and Geoffrey Pleyers is OA and explores the global echoes of the pandemic and the different responses adopted by governments, policy makers and activists. 

As COP26 approaches, our growing Environment and Sustainability list engages with key debates with titles such as Unsustainable by Richard Joy and A Climate Pact for Europe by Anne Hessel, Jean Jouzel and Pierre Larrouturou. The work we publish on climate change and other global challenges contributes to ongoing debates in academia and beyond and addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

As part of this mission, we recently announced a major new OA publishing initiative to provide a platform for vital work Our Global Social Challenges Journal is a new, interdisciplinary, non-profit open access journal, with a mission to question, explore and navigate our way through the social aspects of the challenges that face us. We have also signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact, which aims to accelerate progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and we have partnerships with organisations and societies worldwide who align with our ethos and aims. 

Over the years we have also received fantastic support from people who see the value in our publishing focus, including international commentators and journalists. We were delighted that Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America (Berkley Books, 2015) said of us:

“If I had the money, I’d establish a press like this in every part of America. Major houses are great, but it’s places like these that publish the work that matters most.”

We are excited about the potential across all of our subject areas for continued international expansion and remain committed to publishing on social issues from the local to the global in order to further our mission of making a difference.  

Thank you to everyone who has helped us come this far and we look forward to seeing you at conferences and events before too long.  

Victoria Pittman, Head of Commissioning, Bristol University Press.


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