Depoliticisation

  • Created by: KDallers-
  • Created on: 03-06-19 13:42

Intro to Depoliticisation

One of the reasons we HATE POLITICIANS (Colin Hay) - is an economic concept which has been transferred to politics; three key concepts - blame avoidance; - responsibility shifting; and - preference shaping - defined as 'defensive risk management' (Hood) and 'THE PORCESS OF PLACING AT ONE REMOVE THE POLITICAL CHARACTER OF DECISION MAKING" - Burnham

- Seen as PREFERENCE-SHAPING - if you know something can be affected politically, you hope for change - however, if politicians refuse to engage with an issue, people have no expectations and thus will not kick off; HOWEVER, a misnomer? Is it more about 'arena-shifting', but still a political activity?

- POLITICISATION - this is risky as it leads to 'overload' and 'failures' of policies - negative press; depoliticisation is a NEW RIGHT tactic and 'the opponent of big government' (Blinder) - provides the opportunity to keep an issue 'at arms-length', but not feel any negative policy consequences

Loved by PRACTITIONERS like Lord Falconer 'a vital element'; World Bank and EU PolicyForum

Hated by ACADEMICS - seen as anti-democratic, self-interested, concept of 'sweeping an issue under the carpet' - 'dubious' (Flinders and Buller) - not clearly defined

Ranciere - the 'oldest task of politics' and the locus of political activity

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What is Depoliticisation?

Benefits of depoliticisation: it REDUCES OVERLOAD and facilitates the need more more marketisation (New Right view); however, shifting to market is a political ideal of many; also rejects POLITICAL BUSINESS CYCLE THEORIES - there are no more electioneering tax cuts, as this power is delegated to a central bank (ie Bank of England)

- However, issue are always kept at an ARMS-LENGTH - they can be brought closer and REPOLITICISED if the politician deems fit; it is not a binary of depoliticised or not, but a 'SPECTRUM OF AUTONOMY' and a transformation - not a 'sudden act' of depoliticisation (Flinders and Buller)

- Depoliticisation allows the government to 'solve the economy' - can 'achieve their... crude objectives' (Bulpitt); however, the government must acquire market confidence and promote investment - in a globalised, neoliberal world (Wickham-Jones); Arrow - sees depoliticisation in the view of PUBLIC CHOICE THEORISTS as undemorcratic, negative and paradoxical; best operators of depoliticisation were New Labour - used it to shield themselves from unpopularity

GOOD: - economic benefits; - political stability; - less government overload (New Right)

BAD: - no deliberation/debate; - anti-democratic in this sense; - a lack of choice for govt

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Typology of Depoliticisation I

Key stages of depoliticisation - there are PRINCIPLES (what you believe), TACTICS (how you will achieve them) and TOOLS (what you use in this process) - Flinders and Buller

1) INSTITUTIONAL - this involves 'releasing agents' and delegating responsibility to INSTITUTIONS, thus forming relations - used by New Labour in various instances, such as the formation of PUBLIC CORPORATIONS - like the BBC - less economic stress on the government - these were key tools for the govt; also further AGENCIFICATION and informal governance - politicians generally have flexibility on how they depoliticise - they can keep new agencies within the political sphere - for example, OFSTED or BofE - relates to the FIRST FACE OF POWER

2) RULE-BASED - politics committed to following a certain rule set by politicians, thus 'tying their hands' and 'backing themselves into a corner' - this rule constrains elites, and committs them to a certain course of action, thus taking the pressure off them - for example, austerity in the UK, the gold standard - this alters what is on the agenda - SECOND FACE OF POWER

3) PREFERENCE-SHAPING - relates to the 'language of no alternatives' (Thatcher) - puts issue beyond politics, like banking - banks do what they want (Marcussen); Habermas - saw this as the decline of the public realm, as politicans refuse to interven on certain issues, and shape expectations accordingly - an ideological context to what preferences are shaped - THIRD FACE OF POWER

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Other Typologies of Depoliticisation

Three main ones as Flinders and Buller, Hay suggest - an intensely political process as it determines what is heard and what is not - concept of ISSUE-SHIFTING from one to another

1) DELIBERATION to NECESSITY - similar to preference-shaping power, as it make ones do something as there is no alternative - Thatcher; for example, in context of globalisation, or climate change, or austerity - WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING

2) PUBLIC to PRIVATE - something is made the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL - for example, issues of women's rights - was once private, but feminism has made it repoliticised and depoliticised again many times over the years - is it currently DEPOLITICISED? (postfeminism)

3) POLITICS to MARKET - some of the best examples come from putting the blame on the market (which cannot be held accountable) - this has increased with globalisation and economic interdependence - institutions such as the EU and World Bank

- PUBLIC CHOICE and RATIONAL CHOICE - politics is seen as a MARKET of individuals, yet the market itself is seen as more important than politicians themselves - a New Right tactic; yet, issues are ALWAYS KEPT at an 'arms-length' - so can be repoliticised at any time

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Depoliticisation in Action - the Gold Standard

Money operates on a basis of social acceptance and trust; to create a more tangible element, people invested GOLD into money - means that when melted, it retains some worth - this led to DEBASING, where politicians could reduce the amount of GOLD in a coin and decrease the value of money - stimulates the economy artificially (higher demand) - however, the response was HYPERINFLATION - clearly problematic - POLITICISED METHOD

Gold standard - automatic and DEPOLITICISED form of management - a new policy, with five steps - uncompetitive nation - traders move currency - less gold in the nation, so - interest rates are raised - prices are thus lowered; works very simply, and did for 100 years; however, in the 1970s, New Right saw this as 'overload' and the cause of economic troubles

Led to MONETARISM - a POLITICISED method of management, about controlling the money supply so that inflation could be tamed - this failed, and led to stagnation and high inflation; Thatcher and Reagan - introduced SUPPLY SIDE ECONOMICS which worked - more DEPOLITICISED

FURTHER DEPOLITICISATION - the ERM - linking the £ to the DM - all in control of the EU and not UK politicians - accepted in the UK, and removed responsibility from politicians - this FAILED, Black Wednesday; = further depoliticisation with bank independence, the 2008 crisis and austerity

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Burnham - Depoliticisation and New Labour

Depoliticisatin is a question of EFFICIENCY vs CHOICE IMPACT DEMOCRACY - New Labour believed in a Third Way 'new mixed economy' which was depoliticised as a consequence of GLOBALISATION and MARKETISATION - government would move from 'rowing to steering' (Cope and Goodship) and attempt only to prevent international crises (Helleiner)

Key policies of this Third Way: - increase foreign confidence; - lower inflation; - cap spending; this was facilitated through the KEY POLICY of Bank of England Independece - also involved privatisation, decentralisation, and externalising responsibilty + promoting FISCAL DISCIPLINE - the government had less options as a result of its ultraglobalism - used the STRONG GLOBALISATION THESIS to suggest their 'hands were tied' to being COUNTERINFLATIONARY

- New Labour used RULES-BASED DEPOLITICISATION and statecraft to generate less overload - Eady; 2 KEY RULES introduced into law - borrow to invest; - sensible public debt - this 'tied their hands' (Danitch)

- Also used in the PUBLIC SECTOR through devolution and privatisation, and in LOCAL GOVERNMENT - the introduction of City Mayors, for example - less about central government

OVERALL - New Labour used depoliticisation through HISTORY and STRONG GLOBALISATION

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Key Thinkers of Depoliticisation

Hood; Burnham; Ranciere - definitions (Burnham also New Labour context; Cope and Goodship, Eady)

Blinder - New Right view

Lord Falconer - pro-depoliticisation quote

Flinders and Buller; Hay - typologies of depoliticisation; anti-depoliticisation (also Arrow)

Bulpitt - economic view of depoliticisation

Wickham-Jones - market view of depoliticistion

Thatcher - 'there is no alternative' (also Habermas)

Marcussen - banking and 'scientification' depoliticisation

Habermas, Helleiner - decline of public realm and marketisation

Danitch - rule-based, 'hands are tied'

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