The Conservative Party and social justice policy 1997–2010: an historical institutionalist analysis

Monahan, Martin (2013). The Conservative Party and social justice policy 1997–2010: an historical institutionalist analysis. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


This thesis uses Historical Institutionalism (HI) to explain why social justice policy became an important focus for change in the 1997-2010 Conservative Party, how this policy changed, and why radical ideological change did not take place. Utilising interviews with mid- and elite-level Party actors, and analysis of policy publications, this thesis maps the restrictive and enabling effect of material and ideational institutional structures. It introduces new HI theoretical mechanisms of path tendency within path dependency, and confluence junctures, as key processes; neutral and mimicry invasion as key sources of new policy; and policy and institutional entrepreneurs as key types of actor. It couples these newly defined terms to present mechanisms in HI to offer an explanation that down-plays Cameron as a significant break from past ideological practice: rather there has been broad continuity throughout the opposition period, which, rather than being restrictive, has facilitated incremental policy change, largely emerging slowly from mid-level actors in the Party. The thesis contributes to debates in the study of British politics by offering a theoretical and institutionally focused explanation rather than prioritising more descriptive and personality focused work. It also develops HI and improves its explanation of incremental change in a non-crisis institutional environment.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year