Understanding the Role of Consumer Organisations in Policy Making and Regulation in the UK and Norway. Do they matter?

Allen, Henry (2013) Understanding the Role of Consumer Organisations in Policy Making and Regulation in the UK and Norway. Do they matter? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Abstract
Neoliberalism constructs a particular version of consumers as existing individually
and within markets, and not collectively outside of markets where
regulation and policy is made. This undermines the individual’s ability, as a
consumer, to influence how markets are constructed and regulated. This thesis
investigates the role of consumer organisations in contemporary policy making
and regulation, asking how they matter in terms of their representation
of individuals. In so doing, it assesses the position of consumer organisations
in the UK and Norway in terms both of their institutionalisation, and their
intermediation with other political actors. The principal argument is that investigating
consumer organisations illuminates the complex and deeply political
relationships between states, markets and civil society. More specifically,
it argues that despite the fact that consumer organisations have a relatively
privileged position in terms of their involvement in decision-making, and that
developments in governance have encouraged stakeholder inclusion, they remain
largely peripheral to regulatory and policy processes. This undermines
the potential collective power of consumers over how markets are regulated.
Through a discourse analysis of elite interviews with consumer organisations,
regulators and policymakers, it is found that their relevance remains largely
dependent on a combination of the ideas, issues and ideologies involved in
policy making and regulation. This is despite attempts to ensure that it is
consumers’ interests that are seen as paramount in the institutional design
of the regulatory state. This thesis, through a thick description analysis of
consumer organisations in policy making and regulation, problematizes the
development of the regulatory state and the inclusion of consumer interests
as a counter-balance to industry and agency pressures. In so doing it offers
original insights into some of the variegated political dimensions of contemporary
neoliberal capitalism, most specifically the ways in which people are
represented in construction of regulation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Political, Social and International Studies
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 14:34
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 14:34
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/47935
DOI:

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