From Dismantling by Default to Symbolic Dismantling? Water Policy in the United Kingdom

Andrew Jordan and John Turnpenny

in Dismantling Public Policy

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656646
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746000 | DOI:
From Dismantling by Default to Symbolic Dismantling? Water Policy in the United Kingdom

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This chapter examines how the transition to a more multi-level system of water governance in Britain has affected the way in which dismantling was conceived of and pursued. It does so by analysing two potential cases of dismantling in the UK water sector where politicians appeared to have a strong preference to dismantle: the 1974 Control of Pollution Act and the 1992 attempt to dismantle EU environmental legislation via a so-called ‘hit list’. The analysis emphasizes two broader points: First, research that seeks to study dismantling in heavily Europeanized sectors should account for the EU's role (direct and indirect) in dismantling activities at both levels of governance. Second, examining dismantling as a discrete, time-bound event runs the risk of overlooking the importance of deeper historical processes and longer-term dynamics. Attention should also be paid to the importance of extended causal chains, of unintended consequences, and of processes that unfold gradually over time.

Keywords: policy dismantling; dismantling by default; symbolic action; environmental policy; water policy; multi-level-governance; British Politics

Chapter.  10922 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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