School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Enterprising the state
    CONSIDINE, MARK (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
    Perhaps there once was a time when the terms ‘state’, ‘market’ and ‘bureaucracy’ had settled meanings and when the institutions which they helped define had standard, widely understood purposes. If so this is certainly a book about the closing of that era and about a radical set of changes that now seeks to alter the nature of governance in many advanced capitalist states. The particular reform strategies we will identify in four countries seeking will help us map the contours of wider changes in the nature of contemporary governance. The front-line reinventions in these four countries spell-out the central characteristics of a process of change which can be defined as the enterprising of the state. This transformation is something less than a final accomplishment. Process is often more revealing than structure. The enterprising activity takes root in forms of managerialism, contractualism and reinvention within programs aimed at both the work of officials and the identity of citizen-clients. As such it constitutes a new transition model for systems of public action which are seeking ways to meet the challenges of globalisation and the imperatives of new levels of cultural diversity (Jessop, 1991; Lash and Urry,1987).