Chapter

Consumerism and the reform of public services: inequalities and instabilities

Clarke John, Smith Nick and Vidler Elizabeth

in Social Policy Review 17

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9781861346704
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303442 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861346704.003.0010
Consumerism and the reform of public services: inequalities and instabilities

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This chapter is concerned with the themes of choice and consumerism in public services. It argues that the rhetoric of choice intersects with the different notions of inequality in the arguments of both New Labour and the Conservatives. The chapter talks about the construction of the service user as a consumer, and how this overlooks the relative advantages that some consumers may enjoy in terms of social and symbolic capital. It also stresses the importance of distinguishing between voice and choice as mechanisms to bring about more responsive services.

Keywords: choice; consumerism; public services; notions of inequality; New Labour; Conservatives; social capital; symbolic capital

Chapter.  6185 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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