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Social Policy Review 17$
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Martin Powell, Linda Bauld, and Karen Clarke

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9781861346704

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861346704.001.0001

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Consumerism and the reform of public services: inequalities and instabilities

Consumerism and the reform of public services: inequalities and instabilities

Chapter:
(p.167) Nine Consumerism and the reform of public services: inequalities and instabilities
Source:
Social Policy Review 17
Author(s):

Clarke John

Smith Nick

Vidler Elizabeth

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861346704.003.0010

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

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