Edited by Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm and Weert Canzler
Chapter 7: Bringing the rules back in. Peer review, bureaucracy and the reform of science governance in France (1960-2010)
Since the early 1980s, New Public Management (NPM) reforms have continuously tested contemporary professions. Generalised evaluations, a push for transparency, and the introduction of market mechanisms to fund professional activity have been used by Western states to control and reduce professional power. Scholars interested in the impact of NPM reforms on professional work and power have often described the relations between professionals and managers as a battle. However, these relations have not always taken the form of a struggle. Following Freidson’s line of inquiry (1994), this chapter shows that the opposition between professions and NPM has to be revised if one wants to better understand the real transformations of scientific power and practices. Building on two historical surveys, we analyse how rules and an appeal to transparency have transformed peer review in France since the beginning of the 1960s, and we underscore the central role played by academics in these reforms.
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