The Politics of Expertise: How NGOs Shaped Modern Britain

Hardcover | July 25, 2013

byMatthew Hilton, James Mckay, Nicholas Crowson

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The Politics of Expertise offers a challenging new interpretation of politics in contemporary Britain, through an examination of non-governmental organisations. Using specific case studies of the homelessness, environment, and international aid and development sectors, it demonstrates howpolitics and political activism has changed over the last half century. NGOs have contributed enormously to a professionalization and a privatization of politics, emerging as a new form of expert knowledge and political participation. They have been led by a new breed of non-party politician, working in collaboration and in competition with government. Skilfulnavigators of the modern technocratic state, they have brought expertise to expertise and, in so doing, have changed the nature of grassroots activism. As affluent citizens have felt marginalised by the increasingly complex nature of many policy solutions, they have made the rational calculation tosupport NGOs, the professionalism and resources of which make them better able to tackle complex problems. Yet in doing so, support rather than participation becomes the more appropriate way to describe the relationship of the public to NGOs. As voter turnout has declined, membership and trust in NGOs has increased. But NGOs are very different types of organisations from the classic democraticinstitutions of political parties and the labour movement. They maintain different and varied relationships with the publics they seek to represent. Attracting mass support has provided them with the resources and the legitimacy to speak to power on a bewildering range of issues, yet perhaps theultimate victors in this new form of politics are the NGOs themselves.

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The Politics of Expertise offers a challenging new interpretation of politics in contemporary Britain, through an examination of non-governmental organisations. Using specific case studies of the homelessness, environment, and international aid and development sectors, it demonstrates howpolitics and political activism has changed over...

Matthew Hilton is the author of Smoking in British Popular Culture (2000), Consumerism in Twentieth-Century Britain (2003), and Prosperity for All: Consumer Activism in an Era of Globalisation (2009). Most recently, he is the joint author, with Nicholas Crowson, Jean-Francois Mouhot and James McKay, of A History of NGOs in Britain: Cha...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:July 25, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199691878

ISBN - 13:9780199691876

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the privatisation of politics2. Why we don't hate politics: the transformation of socio-political action3. The ascent of the expert: professionals and the NGO career4. The making of the modern NGO: organisational reform and financial stability5. The pressure of politics: walking the corridors of power6. Politics beyond Westminster: communication strategies, the media and the public7. Living with Leviathan: NGOs, the state and governance8. Single issue politics and the ideology of non-governmental action9. Conclusion: the potential and the limits of NGOsBibliography