The Neoliberal Phoenix: The Big Society or Business as Usual
AbstractAt present something curious appears to be occurring in the UK in the aftermath of the 'credit crunch', with respect to the political, economic and social complexion of the policies currently being implemented by the Coalition government, and not least in terms of the manner in which they are being introduced. Specifically, as this paper argues, despite a degree of rhetoric to the contrary, asserting a movement towards a more socially 'progressive' and inclusive 'Big Society', the current policy framework appears quite clearly to have been framed from a fairly radical neoliberal perspective, to the extent that much of what is being implemented and proposed bears more than a passing resemblance to the neoliberal Structural Adjustment Programmes imposed by the IMF and World Bank on developing economies since the 1970s. This paper suggests that the implementation of the Big Society agenda - while seeming earnestly advocated by its presumed architect Philip Blond (whose Red Toryism has been cited as providing the intellectual foundation for the project, much as Giddens' Third Way informed 'Blairism') - may have implications that are largely oppositional to its asserted aims. Such initiatives can be considered, in their application at least, as potentially legitimating discourses for the advancing of neoliberal policies against the background of an increasingly uneasy populace. In this vein, the Big Society, as the latest variant of such socio-economic visions, can easily be construed as being little more than a convenient vehicle, employed to rehabilitate and further entrench neoliberalism in the aftermath of its self induced crisis. This view is supported by the observation that a key feature of the Big Society agenda, in practice, appears to be the increasing marketisation of the public realm and, crucially, dismantling the 'Big (Welfare) State', where the latter, in almost Orwellian fashion, is now being indicted for many of the social and economic ills that the 'free market' era has delivered.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Sociological Research Online in its journal Sociological Research Online.
Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Contact details of provider:
Big Society; Neoliberalism; Neo-Conservatism; Structural Adjustment; Predatory Capitalism;
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Ternent).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.