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About the Talk

When governance refers to changes in the state, it generally refers to a shift from hierarchy to markets and networks. Public sector reforms have sought to promote markets, contracting-out, networks, and joined-up government. This paper focuses initially on the intellectual sources of the transformation of the state. It suggests that modernist social science informed the main narratives of the crisis of the administrative and welfare state in the 1970s, and modernist social science also inspired the waves of public sector reform that responded to this crisis. In Britain, the first wave of reform, associated with Thatcherism, drew on economic modernism to justify marketization and the new public management, and a second wave of reform, associated with New Labour, drew on sociological modernism to justify joined-up governance and networks. The second half of the paper shifts the focus from the sources of the reforms to their impact on practices. It relies on a series of short ethnographic stories to illustrate some of the complex ways in which public servants now juggle the competing demands of bureaucracies, markets, and networks.

About the Speaker:

Mark Bevir is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for British Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is also Professor of Governance, United Nations University (MERIT) and Distinguished Research Professor, Swansea University.

Born and raised in London, Mark moved to Berkeley in January 2000, having worked previously at universities in India and the UK. He has held visiting fellowships in Australia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Norway, South Korea, UK, and USA. Currently he is the general editor of The Oxford History of Political Thought, and he has been an editor of Journal of the Philosophy of History, associate editor of Journal of Moral Philosophy, President of the Society for the Philosophy of History, and Chair of the Interpretive Politics Group (PSA). Mark has done policy work for governmental organizations in Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as for the United Nations and its agencies.

Mark’s research interests in political theory include moral philosophy, political philosophy, and history of political thought. His methodological interests cover philosophy of social science, philosophy of history, and history of social science. His work on public policy focuses on organization theory, democratic theory, and governance.