From 1979 to 1997 the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major tried to refashion British society along the managerial lines suggested by the New Right. Since 1997, New Labour has attempted to consolidate those reforms by offering a kind of ‘compassionate Thatcherism’. The article offers an overview and a critical assessment of the social and political reforms that characterize this neo-liberal consensus. The main thesis is that at the core of those reforms there is a double policy of administrative decentralization cum political centralization the goal of which is to shift the costs of social change upon middle and lower level managers while freeing the government from accountability. Against Thatcher’s libertarian rhetoric, it is argued that this policy has augmented the role of the state in society. In opposition to Blair’s Third Way discourse, it is maintained that this policy has increased inequalities, entrenched social, economic and geographical divides and re-enforced the deep-seated tendencies of the British political system towards centralization.
|Rivista||OZS.OESTERREICHISCHE ZEITSCHRIFT FUER SOZIOLOGIE|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2004|