1st Edition

Social Citizenship in the Shadow of Competition The Bureaucratic Politics of Regulatory Justification

By Bronwen Morgan Copyright 2003

    Social Citizenship in the Shadow of Competition explores how economic concepts and tools are reshaping regulatory law. Building on studies that link law - both institutionally and discursively - to the legitimation of economic neo-liberalism, the book charts lawmakers' attempts to justify social welfare regulation in the language imposed by economic theory. It presents new qualitative findings from an ambitious regulatory reform programme targeting over 1,700 pieces of legislation. Bronwen Morgan argues that the interplay between economic discourse and lawmaking does not destroy the possibility of social citizenship; however, the subsequent regulatory conversations frequently silence or weaken the claims of vulnerable groups. Thus, even when vulnerable groups secure instrumental success, economic conceptions of bureaucratic rationality impoverish their capacity to express certain kinds of intangible values and aspirations. To expand or retain social citizenship requires that we learn to conceive of what matters in political economy without relying on the logic of utility or other instrumental rationalities.

    Contents: Introduction; Economic adjudication and the rule of law; Public law and political economy in the Australian administrative state; The contested terrain of regulatory conversation; Agenda-setting and bureaucratic politics; Implementation in competition's shadow; Technocratic citizenship; Appendices: Competition principles agreement; Conduct code agreement; Agreement to implement the national competition policy and related reforms; Bibliography; Index.


    Bronwen Morgan, Dr, Harold Woods Research Fellow in Law at Wadham, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK

    Prize: Winner of the Hart/SLSA prize 2004 ’Meta regulation - different ways of seeing how regulatory processes are themselves regulated - is a central contemporary topic in regulatory research. It is also pivotal to an understanding of the transition from the Keynesian welfare state to the new regulatory state. Australian meta-regulatory practice has been internationally influential and Bronwen Morgan provides here the most systematic and intensive study of Australian regulation review processes and its implications for social citizenship. Her account is nuanced and thought-provoking. Those interested in how networks shape policy in states struggling to become more internationally competitive will find the account illuminating.’ Professor John Braithwaite, Australian National University, Australia '...an important contribution to the study of regulation and politics...' Public Law '...fascinating...the selection of the Australian case study is well justified and its relationship to other OECD experience carefully explained. The Australian case should be of wide interest to those interested both in national policies of regulatory reform and the adaptation of national regimes to the future requirements of regional and global regimes...' Public Administration 'The author's account of meta-regulation within the Australian system of governance offers a valuable and interesting snapshot of policymaking in practice and the potential, within a federal state, for the bureaucracy to exert significan influence within the regulatory process and, in turn, the potential for its decisions to be influenced by community interests.' European Public Law '...Morgan's thesis is an important one, and the book an interesting and though provoking read.' International and Comparative Law Quarterly