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For example, the election manifesto of promised a new approach of open and decentralized decision-making. Since then, the New Labour government has indeed implemented participatory initiatives in local government and social policy areas such as urban redevelopment, hospital governance, and public services Pratchett ; Gustafsson and Driver ; Marinetto ; Dinham ; Chandler ; Rowe and Shepherd ; Thorpe and Gregory However, revealingly, these reforms in local government were framed in terms of the managerial post-Fordist language of efficient delivery, responsiveness, flexibility, joined-up government, best practice, and streamlining Rao , —, — In this way, participation has been bound up with the reconfiguration of public services in terms of consumerist values.

The participation agenda is thereby linked to an ideal of the active citizen as both consumer and co-producer.

Participation unleashes this reflexive activity, but in order to do so it must create or foster these kinds of active subjects see also Thorpe and Gregory ; Finlayson , Talk of reshaping culture and society has become pervasive in UK science policy, in which promoting the knowledge economy is presented as requiring cultural change, particularly within universities. There is a tension in New Labour ideology between presenting policy as responding to objective social change and presenting policy as itself actively transforming society.

But the two approaches are reconciled in the following way: the activity of shaping subjectivities, or governing through culture, is geared primarily toward fostering the social attributes regarded as necessary in order to successfully adapt to the objective conditions—the rise of consumerism and the knowledge economy. The task of shaping culture is to ensure the cultural and social underpinnings of the knowledge economy: an entrepreneurial spirit in institutions, and a consumerist orientation in public life.


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The notion that Britain needs to mobilize its science base for commercial success and competitiveness in the global market is the central idea in British science policy. Public engagement in science policy derives political legitimacy from being embedded in these discourses of post-Fordism and the knowledge economy Thorpe and Gregory The Sciencewise c.

Emphases added. Such phrases suggest that economic strategy requires the governance of culture, constructing affective conditions such as confidence and excitement.

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These are subjective attributes of a population that does not resist, but instead embraces insecurity and change as desirable aspects of late modernity. Not only individuals, but also institutions must be adaptable. Theories of the knowledge economy and Third Way theories of governance assert the need to remake institutions and break down organizational boundaries, unmaking large modernist bureaucracies and instead constructing fluid networks, for example via public—private partnerships.

The university is presented as having a role not only in producing new technologies, but also in helping to foster cultural adaptation to that technological change. This is the value of participation and engagement as an academic activity. What is surprising in the sentence is the notion that science may be not only produced but also governed by the private sector.

This departs from traditional notions of the difference between public and private. What holds this complex together is not structure or rules, but more diffuse conditions of culture and affect. Therein lies the significance of public engagement for the knowledge economy, as a technique for governing culture, managing affect, and producing subjectivities.

Brian Wynne, an influential advocate of public engagement, has decried the policy construction of participation as a tool for enhancing public trust in science and technology. My analysis suggests, however, that British science policy is in tune with the Third Way as a politics celebratory of post-Fordism and the knowledge economy. This gave rise to the conceptualization of participation as a political form suited to post-Fordist conditions, facilitating the emergence of active citizen-consumers amenable to the products and services of a knowledge economy.

Demos has been an important source of advocacy for participatory ideas in British science policy and has established close links with the academic field of STS. The report has Wynne as a coauthor and draws extensively on research from STS and on anti-technocratic arguments for participation. But it derives its title concept from the mids work of Moore that influenced Leadbeater and Mulgan Wilsdon et al.

Here, the concept of public value provides the basis for attaching a broader socially progressive agenda to the knowledge economy. Rather than seeing the democratization of science as an obstacle to tapping the economic value of science, democratization and participation should be seen as adding value Wilsdon et al. This broader public value is not at odds with, but complements, and even facilitates, the pursuit of economic value. The notion that ideological oppositions have been suspended conditions the approach to democratization.

If political questions are transformed into ones of implementation, then democratization can be seen not as unleashing conflict but as a kind of collaborative brainstorming. In this way, democracy and participation can be seen as promoting innovation. Engagement, they argue, means involving the public in the innovation process, drawing on diverse social actors as sources of innovative ideas. As in Web 2. Britain needs an approach to innovation that is not just about the scientific elite, the trendy creative class or entrepreneurial superheroes but which recognises the contribution that everyone can make as consumers, citizens and creators.

Similarly to the Marxism Today analysis of the cultural pluralism fostered by post-Fordism and the Demos report on The British Spring , notions of democracy and cosmopolitanism are brought into association with the knowledge economy. It was in the context of an intellectual alchemy between democracy and innovation that ingredients of STS scholarship and argument entered into British science policy discourse. Yet, the resulting mixture is not entirely consistent. The framework is deterministic in treating the emerging conditions of post-Fordism, the knowledge economy, and globalization as brute realities to be accepted and adapted to, rather than resisted.

Similarly, New Labour has emphasized that constant innovation is an imperative of competition in the global economy. Emphasis in original. If it is necessary to keep up to date and not fall behind , then the course is already set and there would seem to be scant choice and little therefore about which to deliberate.

These tensions are inherent in the Third Way framing of participation as a form of political involvement adapted to, and supportive of, a post-Fordist economy and society. New Labour as the context for participative approaches in science policy has been discussed in Gregory and Lock esp. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author s and source are credited.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Open Access. First Online: 20 November Introduction Over the last decade, there has been a significant shift in the way in which the relationship between science and the public is understood and handled in British science policy.

The New Left and Cultural Studies

The rapid feedback between consumer preference and production facilitated by post-Fordist flexible production methods and information technologies provided a model for a more direct relationship between citizen preference and policy, bypassing the need for representation. Leadbeater and Mulgan wrote: Manufacturers and retailers operating just-in-time production systems have developed hugely sophisticated computer systems to track consumer preferences in real time and translate them into production.

These kinds of arguments were reinforced by the sociological theory of Giddens. He shared with Demos such fundamental tenets as the idea that globalization was creating a more fluid society in which there was a greater emphasis on individual responsibility and that new post-materialist values were taking precedence over older class politics, so that the classic left—right split was losing its salience. This context called for greater responsiveness of government to citizens. They write: Britain needs an approach to innovation that is not just about the scientific elite, the trendy creative class or entrepreneurial superheroes but which recognises the contribution that everyone can make as consumers, citizens and creators.

He was, at that time, shadow employment spokesperson. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author s and source are credited. Governing by cultures. Demos Quarterly 7: 2—8. Google Scholar. Missionary government. Demos Quarterly 7: 1. Abels, Gabriele.

Experts, citizens, and Eurocrats—towards a policy shift in the governance of biopolitics in the EU. Adonis, Andrew, and Geoff Mulgan. Back to Greece: The scope for direct democracy.

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Why Gramsci's ideas are still relevant

Demos Quarterly 3: 1— Allen, Graham. Positive sum politics. Demos Quarterly 3: 93— Bartle, Martin. Initiatives and experiments. Demos Quarterly 3: — Becker, Theodore L. Electrifying democracy. Bevir, Mark. New Labour: A Critique. London: Routledge. Bewes, Timothy, and Jeremy Gilbert.

Cultural Capitalism: Politics after New Labour. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Blair, Tony. Forging a new agenda.

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Marxism Today , October 32— London: The Fabian Society. Boynton, Robert. The New Yorker , October 6, 66— Cassell, Philip, ed. The Giddens Reader. Houndmills, Basingstoke: MacMillan. Chandler, D. Active citizens and the therapeutic state: The role of democratic participation in local government reform. Policy and Politics 29 1 : 3— Clarke, John. Critical Social Policy 25 4 : — CrossRef Google Scholar. Mark Bevir, and Frank Trentmann, 97— Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

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Clarke, John, et al. London: Sage. Cockett, Richard. Demos, Lean democracy. Demos Quarterly 3: vii—ix. London: HMSO.

The Politics of New Labour | Lawrence & Wishart

Dillow, Chris. Petersfield, Hampshire: Harriman House. Dinham, Adam.