Chapter

Being sensible

Clare Herrick

in Governing health and consumption

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426383
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302445 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847426383.003.0002
Being sensible

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This chapter examines the conceptual significance of the term ‘sensible’ and explores it in relation to the irrevocable tension between freedom and coercion that characterises the government of liberal societies. Being sensible, it is argued, sits at the precarious fulcrum of the need to invest in and engage with the market as consumers while at the same time identifying and managing the negative externalities of such consumption choices. The chapter argues that maintaining this delicate balance between self-indulgence and self-restraint requires the creation and deployment of socially normative behaviours. Being sensible as a tool of governance is given relevance not just for who is acting, but where these actions are taking place.

Keywords: consumption choice; making sense; liberal societies; self-indulgence; self-restraint; governance; socially normative behaviours

Chapter.  8839 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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