Critical Enquiry at the Intersection of Politics, Policy and Society
Edited by Emma Carmel
Chapter 4: Governing skills, governing workplaces: explaining the New Labour Skills Strategy for England
This chapter appraises the benefits of the governance analysis approach to explaining the New Labour Skills Strategy for England. It starts by identifying a paradox at the heart of New Labour’s skills policy: aspiring to develop a skills system that both responded to the demands of businesses and workers and also sought to increase their demand for skills. The key contribution of governance analysis is its ability to account for this paradox. Its application in this chapter shows how the structural conditions of the UK political economy were strategically utilised to define sets of skills policy actors - and the ways in which they should act - in relation to putatively shared higher skills aspirations. In doing so the chapter reveals highly contested attempts by state and non-state actors to politically order social relations within this policy field.
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