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Towards a political economy of depoliticisation: Help to Buy, the Office for Budget Responsibility, and the UK growth model

Berry, CP and Lavery, S (2017) Towards a political economy of depoliticisation: Help to Buy, the Office for Budget Responsibility, and the UK growth model. In: Anti-politics, depoliticization, and governance. Oxford University Press, pp. 245-265. ISBN 0198748973

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Abstract

This chapter argues that the literature on depoliticization tends to overlook the structural context within which depoliticization processes take place and, in particular, the way in which depoliticization strategies are embedded within distinctively capitalist forms of social organization. Too often, analysis focuses on categorizing different ‘types’ of depoliticization processes or outcomes, while neglecting to examine how depoliticization strategies are utilizsed as a discursive tool for embedding or shoring up dominant models of economic growth. The chapter seeks to resituate depoliticization in the political economy framework developed originally by Peter Burnham, while acknowledging that Burnham’s reductionist approach to institutions has paradoxically encouraged subsequent scholars to largely ignore structural context in characterizing instances of depoliticization. The chapter offers a preliminary application of an alternative political economy approach by examining macroeconomic policymaking in the post-crisis period in the United Kingdom, focusing on the Help to Buy scheme and the Office for Budget Responsibility.

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