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Publics, Politics and Power

Publics, Politics and Power
Remaking the Public in Public Services

January 2009 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Electronic Inspection Copy available for instructors here

"Very stimulating and intellectually exciting. In fact, I think it is one of the best books I have read for a long time." - Professor Carsten Greve, International centre for Business and Politics at the Copenhagen Business School


Publicness appears to be in decline or retreat in the face of markets, consumerism and individualism. Yet questions of public participation, public governance and the reform of public services are at the top of the political agenda in many countries.


Publics, Politics and Power offers an innovative analysis of the changing fortunes of publicness. The book

" Explores the emergence of new forms, sites and practices of publicness and the implications for public services.

" Examines the remaking of the public in the context of new formations of the nation, where issues of migration, diversity and faith challenge traditional forms of solidarity and citizenship.

" Traces the emergence of hybrid organizational forms and new strategies for governing publics and public services.

" Assesses some of the ways in which the public domain is being recast around notions of civil society, community, and populist participatory politics.


Chapters include vignettes illustrating the book's core concepts, making this a useful teaching resource and valuable reading for students of public management, public and social policy, sociology and cultural studies, and for those working in public services.


Janet Newman is a Professor of Social Policy at the Open University, and Director of the Publics Research Programme within the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance. John Clarke is a Professor of Social Policy at the Open University. His research has centred on conflicts over the future of welfare states, public services and citizenship in the UK and elsewhere.

Contesting publicness
decline and proliferation

Re-assembling the nation
difference, diversity and 'the people'

Displacing the public
recruiting 'ordinary people'

Making (up) markets
discourses, devices and agents

Blurring boundaries
private authority and public governance

Valuing publics? The dilemmas of public work
Engaging publics
participation and power

Remaking citizens
transformation and activation

a politics of the public?


Well written and very topical book. Goes well, for example, with more theretical literature.

Mr Janne Autto
Department of Social Research, University of Lapland
May 4, 2010

really good book with some general interest in the change of service sector in the UK. many examples. the strong sociological perspective refers not to the political science focus in my research. I will choose some chapters, eg. 4, 5, 8 and reference chapters to power and politics.

Dr Stephan Köppe
School of Social and Political Science, Edinburgh University
December 11, 2009

Still considering incorporating into my course, but am concerned about the length of the book, given the large amount of material I need to cover concerning general organizational theory.

Colleen Casey
School Of Urban Public Affairs, University of Texas - Arlington
November 18, 2009

This is a useful book and it is very relevant to those students who are employed in the public sector. The attention to the role of citizens and the impact of this on practice is particularly relevant.

Ms Christine Parkin
Vocational Education , Sunderland University
October 27, 2009

I shall be recommending this book to students. It provides a very interesting and thought provoking framework for thinking about public life and its contested nature.

Mr Paul Bunyan
Faculty of Education, University of Cumbria
October 19, 2009

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One PDF

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412948456
ISBN: 9781412948449

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