The Ideology of Vulnerable Autonomy

Peter Ramsay

in The Insecurity State

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199581061
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741005 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

The Ideology of Vulnerable Autonomy

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This chapter explains the normative basis of New Labour's policy claim that citizens owe duties of reassurance. It argues that this idea arises from an axiomatic proposition of three theories that had a major influence on New Labour — The Third Way, communitarianism, neoliberalism — and that this proposition remains significant in the civic conservatism underlying the Big Society thinking of the Coalition government. All in different ways assume that the autonomy of citizens is vulnerable to insecurity caused by others' hostility and indifference. The influence of this theory is explained as a consequence of the partial political victory of Hayekian neoliberalism over welfare liberalism during the 1980s. It is the aspect in which Hayekian ideas failed that explains the rise to influence of the other theories, and the emergence with this of the idea of a duty towards others' feelings of security — a right to security.

Keywords: vulnerability; Third Way; communitarianism; neoliberalism; civic conservatism; Big Society; Giddens; Hayek; Victorian values; victims

Chapter.  15199 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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