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Managerialism and the care of older people: The Swedish example

Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


In his dissertation Blomberg (2004) investigates into how the care manager reform is incorporated into organizational practice in the care of older people in Sweden. He shows that it is made through different lines of argumentations following one another. Through applying neo-institutional theory this can be understood as “solutions seeking problems to solve” rather than the other way around.

In this paper we develop the idea that these findings can be associated with a broader development, i.e. globalization and modernization, which both pressure for reform along lines condensed in the reform agenda of New Public Management (NPM).

NPM can be seen as part of globalization. Neo-liberals take up the NPM-agenda off-hand through emphasizing that the role of politics should be restricted. Their arguments are underpinned by neo-classical economics favouring market provision. The arguments in favour of change are centred on individualization and privatization. Modernization was originally brought forward through third way politics practiced by New Labour in Britain. Arguments are centred on opportunity and accountability (Le Grand 1998). It shows a resemblance with arguments filtered through NPM, though stressing elements creating a modernized society.

Conclusion: While neo- liberalism uses ideology to shape practice, third way social democracy is letting administrative reform de-ideologize policy. The result is, that through two different lines, the two opposing major political forces in Europe end up with almost the same agenda for reform. Petersson (2006) has argued that taken together this forms a new logic of the welfare state, i.e. the substitution of a moral welfare state for an administrative one centred on managerialism.


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