The British Regulatory State: High Modernism and Hyper-Innovation

By Michael Moran | Go to book overview

6 Regulating and Colonizing Public Worlds

HYPER-INNOVATION AND HYPER-POLITICIZATION

We now turn to what could be considered the heart of the regulatory state: the organization and regulation of the governing machine itself. But employing that image of a 'machine' to define the boundaries of the subject covered in this chapter immediately causes problems, though problems of an illuminating kind. Speaking of the machinery of government implies the existence of a set of institutional mechanisms that we can identify with government and definitively separate from spheres of civil society. Yet, as we might have guessed from the recent history of self-regulation described in Chapter 4 , no such sharp delineation of a separate public sphere is possible. The single most important feature of regulation in Britain has been precisely the lack of any clear boundaries between the institutions of the state and the institutions of civil society. Reregulating the public sphere in the last couple of decades, therefore, has involved more than changing what is conventionally called government. The reorganization indeed covers four major domains and their examination is the task of this chapter.

The first, indeed, covers the reorganization of the central machinery of the state, the world of the metropolitan elite, and especially the world of the metropolitan administrative elite. Precisely because reorganization here affects the interests of those at the very core of the club system, the subject is both important and contentious. It amounts to the most serious frontal assault on the institutions and culture of club government in the whole development of the new regulatory state. The second domain examined is the reorganization of institutions of inspection. As we saw in Chapter 3 , these institutions, indeed, also became embedded in the metropolitan machine but, with their 'field' organization, they ramified into the wider civil society. Change here is best thought of as the reorganization of some of the great inspectorates inherited from the Victorians. Examining this domain, therefore, provides us with a particularly striking instance of something that recurs constantly in the creation of the new regulatory state: the reshaping of the Victorian, pre-democratic regulatory inheritance.

The third domain examined extends deeper still into civil society. It covers the world of quasi-government. This labyrinthine world was where the state intersected with the wider civil society and with the world of self-regulation. Quasi-government—the world of the quango—provided vital support for the club

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The British Regulatory State: High Modernism and Hyper-Innovation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The British Regulatory State iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Images of the Regulatory State 12
  • 3: Creating Club Regulation 38
  • 4: Transforming Self-Regulation 67
  • 5: Regulating Privatization 95
  • 6: Regulating and Colonizing Public Worlds 124
  • 7: From Stagnation to Fiasco 155
  • Notes 184
  • References 205
  • Index 231
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