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Narrating the British State: An Interpretive Critique of New Labour’s Institutionalism

Abstract

This paper explores institutionalism and New Labour as overlapping and intersecting responses to neoliberalism and the New Right. It links institutionalism to the Labour Party and its advocacy of networks and joined-up governance in much the same way as we have come to tie neoliberalism to the New Right and its faith in the new public management. Because the paper’s interpretive approach modifies institutionalism, the link it draws between New Labour and institutionalism also points to something of a critique of these latter: at times, they seek to tame the contingency of social life by reducing the complex to theories about the allegedly given characteristics of institutional forms.

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