Deadline day, and I’ve just sent off the final script of my next book to the publisher; it will be my nineteenth. Barring catastrophes, Thinking Collectively: social policy, collective action and the common good will be out next spring from Policy Press. (My original title was, “The Common Weal”, but the publisher didn’t think that would make sense to people outside of Scotland.) In Reclaiming Individualism, I made a case for social and government action in order to protect and enhance the conditions of individuals. Thinking collectively comes from a different direction, looking at the issues from the perspective of groups, communities and the wider society. As often happens, I’ve had to develop my own framework and approach because most of the existing literature doesn’t do what’s needed.
Writing books, of course, gets you nowhere. Academic institutions like to give the impression that they want people to publish, but they don’t really – publications are way down the list of priorities, and books aren’t taken seriously anyway. My advice to young academics: don’t do what I did.