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The political discourse of globalisation: globalising tendencies as self-induced external enforcement mechanisms

Watson, Matthew (1969-) (2000)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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I begin with a critical deconstruction of the conventional wisdom of globalisation. If the world does indeed resemble that depicted in the conventional wisdom, the claim that policy change is structurally determined at the economic level could well be sustainable. However, I show that globalisation rhetoric corresponds poorly with globalisation reality, suggesting that other causal influences on policy change must also be explored. I argue that in addition to examining the international economic conditions of domestic political change, a more comprehensive understanding of the globalisation experience emerges if we also examine the domestic political conditions of international economic change. Viewed through such a perspective, New Labour’s appropriation of the conventional wisdom of globalisation appears to be strategic. The repeated appeal to ‘globalising necessities’ has been used to displace the need for active consent to the political status quo in Britain. So long as the conventional wisdom continues to resonate within public discourse, the continued reproduction of the political status quo seems secure; even though I demonstrate that the management of the economy within the parameters of that status quo has become increasingly contradictory. Moreover, so long as the government acts in a manner consistent with the globalisation hypothesis, I show that path-dependent effects threaten to lock-in precisely those structural constraints which its globalisation rhetoric at present purportedly merely describes. As a consequence, this process of lock-in would then also inscribe the current contradictions within the government’s economic policy as a structural feature of the macroeconomic regime.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Marsh, David (1946-) and Hay, Colin (1968-)
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Social Science
Department:Department of Political Science and International Studies
Keywords:Globalisation; globalization; New Labour; Thatcherism; globalising tendencies; self-fulfilling prophesy; state crisis
Subjects:JC Political theory
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:1458
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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