This thesis investigates the power relationships between the core executive and non-state actors at the heart of policy making in the UK. It assesses the extent to which an increasingly fragmented polity has led to autonomous non-governmental actors challenging the centralised power of the state and with it the dominant political traditions which have, overtime, informed the British system. To address this theme, the research examines the emergence of the concept of social enterprise (SE) through the period 1997-2015, and the changing patterns of network governance, through a case study approach. During this period, SE was lauded by governments from across the political spectrum as an innovative means by which to devolve autonomy to front-line actors in the delivery of public goods. The thesis asks whether SE lived up to this potential or was it constrained and shaped by a core executive committed to a command and control style of hierarchical governance and if so, why? The findings from the research contribute to existing debates in the SE, governance and political tradition literatures and connects the three analytically for the first time. It identifies and addresses under theorisation in the existing SE literature and seeks to resolve this through the application of the analytical framework of the British political tradition. It makes an analytical contribution to this literature by connecting it to the BPT and governance literatures for the first time. This approach is used to explain continuity in the relationship between government and SE as an alternative provider of public goods. It also constitutes the first study to consider the development of SE under three successive governments from the perspective of the BPT and governance approaches, making an empirical contribution to this end. More broadly then, the thesis responds to the most recent contributions to the critical wave of the BPT, which argue that it is not uncontested or immune to change and reveals that, contrary to these views, it continues to dominate the way actors conceive of the power relationships between SE and the core executive which, in turn, prompts the continuation of highly centralised, hierarchical forms of governance.
|Date of Award||31 Dec 2019|
- The University of Manchester
|Supervisor||Francesca Gains (Supervisor) & David Richards (Supervisor)|