Harnessing the social: state, crisis and (big) society


Dowling, E. and Harvie, D. 2014. Harnessing the social: state, crisis and (big) society. Sociology. 48 (5), pp. 869-886. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038514539060
TitleHarnessing the social: state, crisis and (big) society
AuthorsDowling, E. and Harvie, D.

The paper analyses the UK government’s plans to create a social investment market. The Big Society as political economy is understood as a response to three aspects of a multi-faceted, global crisis: a crisis of capital accumulation; a crisis of social reproduction; and, a fiscal crisis of the state. While the neoliberal state is retreating from the sphere of social reproduction, further off-loading the costs of social reproduction onto the unwaged realms of the home and the community, it is simultaneously engaging in efforts to enable this terrain of social reproduction to be harnessed for profit. Key to this process are specific government policies, the creation of new financial institutions and instruments and the introduction of the metric of ‘social value’. Policies ostensibly aimed at resolving the crisis in ways that empower local communities, actually foster further financialisation and a deepening of capitalist disciplinary logics into the social fabric.

Publication dates
Print01 Oct 2014
Online14 Oct 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Sep 2016
Accepted01 Apr 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

Dowling, E., & Harvie, D. (2014). Harnessing the Social: State, Crisis and (Big) Society. Sociology, 48(5), 869–886. Copyright © 2014 The Author(s) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038514539060

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038514539060
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