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The Nordic model and British public policy c.1997-2015: social democratic mythology or free-market supermodel?

Hoctor, Thomas; (2017) The Nordic model and British public policy c.1997-2015: social democratic mythology or free-market supermodel? Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Perry Anderson, one of the founders of the British New Left, remarked that Sweden was ‘not so much a normal object of real knowledge as a didactic political fable’.1 In 1961, when Anderson wrote ‘Mr Crosland’s Dreamland’ it was self-evident to him that Sweden and the wider Nordic region was a model of social democracy. Today this question is less straightforward. I argue that while there is clear agreement that there is such a thing as a Nordic model, it is much less obvious whose political fable it really is. In this thesis, I will demonstrate that conflict over the meaning of the Nordic model is increasingly transnational and that the Nordic has become an important topic in recent discussions of public policy in the UK for actors from social democrats to free-market liberals. To illustrate this contention the thesis uses three case studies dealing with a range of understandings of a Nordic model of political economy; recent public health discourses about the Nordic countries in England, and a ‘Swedish’ Free School reform which was enacted in England and Wales in 2010. These case studies are structured using a form of discourse analysis and a governance paradigm which theorises the roles and strategies of actors engaged in the creation, implementation and maintenance of public policy. I conclude by arguing that the Nordic model has generally been deployed as a means to neutralise well-established antagonisms in public policy programmes. This is as much a feature of free-market liberal discourse as social democratic discourse.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Nordic model and British public policy c.1997-2015: social democratic mythology or free-market supermodel?
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10027569
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