Big Society as big government: Cameron’s governmentality agenda

Sokhi-Bulley, Bal and Bulley, Dan (2014) Big Society as big government: Cameron’s governmentality agenda. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 16 (3). pp. 452-470. ISSN 1369-1481

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Cameron’s flagship policy of the ‘Big Society’ rests on a society/government dichotomy, diagnosing a ‘broken society’ caused by ‘big government’ having assumed the role communities once played. The remedy is greater social responsibility and the ‘Big Society’. This article argues that the dichotomy is deceptive. We aim to show that the Big Society is big government, as it employs techniques for managing the conduct of individuals and communities such that the mentality of government, far from being removed or reduced, is bettered and made more efficient. To illustrate this, we explore two major initiatives: the National Citizen Service and the Community Resilience programme. These projects demonstrate how practices of informing and guiding the conduct of individuals both produce agents and normalise certain values, resulting in the population being better known and controlled. Thus, far from lessening government and empowering people, the Big Society extends governmen- tality throughout the social body.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Depositing User: Bal Sokhi-Bulley
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2016 12:47
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 22:36

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