2018 – Ayako Hirata

The 2018 Prize committee, consituted by Professor Håkan Hydén (Chair, Sweden), Professor Stefan Machura (U.K.) and Professor Susan Sterett (U.S.A.), has decided to appoint Ayako Hirata as ISA RCSL Podgòrecki Prize 2018 for Young Scholar´s Publication. The motivation is the following:

Ayako Hirata’s cutting edge scholarship analyses the environmental law as interpreted in street level offices. Her book Dealing with Ambiguity: How Street-Level Offices Make Sense of Environmental Statutes (University of Tokyo Press) theorizes the problems of uncertainty and risks in regulating soil and groundwater. She then takes these theoretical problems and analyses how offices interact to make environmental law in conditions of ambiguity and uncertainty. She argues that offices necessarily borrow from each other. In turn, she uses her study of environmental offices to argue for the importance of meso-level studies and explanations in studies of organizations. The methodology employed is exemplary: Hirata used interviews with bureaucrats, observation of work practices, and a survey of offices. She concludes that in a decentralized environment with scarce access to expertise, peers will influence legal interpretation.

Dr. Hirata has been appointed as Associate Professor at Okayama University in 2017. She had project and research positions in Japan before. Her BA is from 2007. Her book originated in her PhD (University of California, Berkeley) research.

Professor Emeritus Håkan Hydén, (Sweden) chair of the Prize Committee