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The consumer in public servicesChoice, values and difference$
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Richard Simmons, Martin Powell, and Ian Greener

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847421814

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847421814.001.0001

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The consumer and New Labour: the consumer as king?

The consumer and New Labour: the consumer as king?

(p.19) Two The consumer and New Labour: the consumer as king?
The consumer in public services

Eric Shaw

Policy Press

This chapter elucidates New Labour's understanding of ‘consumerism’. It draws heavily on Schon and Rein's concept of the frame. Frames can be understood as analytical devices that supply order and intelligibility to a complex, ever-shifting, and confusing world. The first part of the chapter discuses New Labour's ‘diagnostic frame’, and the way it defined the problem of ‘modernising’ public services, focusing on education and healthcare. The next part considers New Labour's ‘prescriptive frames’, major policy prescriptions that emerged from this diagnosis. The final part of the chapter explores ambiguities and problems within New Labour's consumerist narrative.

Keywords:   frame concept, New Labour, education, healthcare, consumerist narrative

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