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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Cliff Oswick, Tom Keenoy, Armin Beverungen, Nick Ellis, Ida Sabelis and Sierk Ybema

The purpose of this paper is to consider the interplay between discourse, policy and practice in relation to aspects of organization and processes of organizing.

988

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the interplay between discourse, policy and practice in relation to aspects of organization and processes of organizing.

Design/methodology/approach

Provides an introduction to the six contributions contained in this special issue and discusses how they relate to the core theme.

Findings

Highlights the need for an approach which treats discourses, policies and practices as connected and mutually implicated, rather than discrete, phenomena.

Originality/value

Presents an approach to discourse analysis which promotes an engagement with wider aspects of social activity.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Geoff Lightfoot and Simon Lilley

The purpose of this paper is to briefly explore some recent curious interlocking of the ideology of markets and the practice of policy.

393

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to briefly explore some recent curious interlocking of the ideology of markets and the practice of policy.

Design/methodology/approach

This particular discursive combine has most visibly been apparent in the concatenated birth and death of the US Defense Department's so‐called “Policy Analysis Market” (PAM). Yet PAM is but the most notorious example of a more sustained and pervasive attempt to use the technologies and disciplines of markets to render policy both better informed and more amenable to control through robust and seemingly incontestable systems of accountability. Given its prominence, our way in is through a brief description of PAM's origins and demise.

Findings

It is found that PAM and its similar brethren of markets for use in policy formation and judgement are less concerned with the capture of reality and more with the disciplining power of a curious “objectivity”.

Originality/value

Projects such as PAM are thus not easily challengeable on grounds of their veracity. Rather research that seeks to interrogate the use of market technologies in policy must look to their context and effects.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Zoë H. Wool

To understand practices of inscription and description used by the US Government in the production of discourse concerning the war in Iraq as part of the post 9/11 War on…

1171

Abstract

Purpose

To understand practices of inscription and description used by the US Government in the production of discourse concerning the war in Iraq as part of the post 9/11 War on Terror and as part of a neo‐liberal project of governance.

Design/methodology/approach

Using an analytics of governmentality, this paper interrogates US government discourse on the war in Iraq, focusing on a series of Department of Defense documents entitled Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq (MSSI).

Findings

Through the use of New Public Management techniques, the MSSI reports render the war in Iraq in depoliticized, decontextualized, apolitical and amoral terms. Such a rendering does an unacceptable violence to the experiences of those living in the war zone and to the complex context of US military involvement in Iraq.

Originality/value

Neo‐liberal regimes of knowledge and practice are ubiquitous, perhaps even hegemonic. This analysis disturbs the neat logic of neo‐liberalism and seeks to reinsert the troubling bodies, both political and material, which such a logic obviates. In so doing, it problematizes both the deployment of neo‐liberal regimes of knowledge production and critics’ easy dismissal of the War on Terror as an evanescent discursive construction.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Marja Gastelaars and Marleen van der Haar

The purpose of this paper is to explore how Dutch social workers make sense of the cultural otherness produced by clients with migrant origins and relates this to the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how Dutch social workers make sense of the cultural otherness produced by clients with migrant origins and relates this to the various discourses that constitute the legacy of Dutch social work.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relies on a historical discourse analysis based on secondary sources and on a fieldwork study performed in a contemporary organization.

Findings

The analysis reveals three different discourses. The first relates to how the association of social work with government policy produces a generalised “otherness” as the practical starting point for the social workers’ interventions, and a specific kind of cultural indifference. The second concerns a discourse around lifestyle interventions influenced by a specific tradition of institutionalised diversity called pillarization. Finally, there is a discourse in which social workers are expressly expected to be “open” to their individual clients’ specific backgrounds which generates scope for a “constructivist” conceptualization of cultural diversity.

Originality/value

The paper offers insights into the discursive construction of social work.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Peri O'Shea

The institutionalisation of neo‐liberalist discourse has significantly changed the way in which the relationship between government and community organisations is…

780

Abstract

Purpose

The institutionalisation of neo‐liberalist discourse has significantly changed the way in which the relationship between government and community organisations is described and regulated in Australia. These changes are most clearly articulated in government policy discourse as a move away from “funding” community service organisations to “purchasing” the delivery of community services. This research aims to explore institutionalisation in the community sector: how institutionalisation interplays with increased central control, the impact on practice and the continued relevance of community organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

This research applies critical discourse analysis, within the framework of neo‐institutional theory, to examine data from “conversations” with workers in community organisations.

Findings

Imposed institutionalisation, seen to threaten flexibility and autonomy, is spurned. However, some evidence of increased internal institutionalisation revealed some potential to strengthen the sector from within.

Originality/value

Due to significant devolution of government services, the extent of welfare provision provided by community organisations is now so great that a crisis in the community sector would result in severe disruption in the delivery of welfare services in Australia. An examination of how the community sector can be resilient and relevant in this new policy environment has important practical implications at the local and international level.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

David Knights and Beverley Jones

The purpose of this paper is to examine critically both utopian and dystopian discourses of offshoring so that a more considered, nonetheless theoretically informed, view…

3803

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine critically both utopian and dystopian discourses of offshoring so that a more considered, nonetheless theoretically informed, view of the global offshore phenomenon can be formed.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon some preliminary research on offshoring ventures from the UK to India, and the extant literature, the practice of business process outsourcing (BPO) via offshoring is explored and critiqued.

Findings

It is argued that neither dream nor nightmare is the adequate discursive metaphor to capture what we have discerned through our research on offshore outsourcing.

Originality/value

The primary contribution of this paper is that demonstrates that utopian and dystopian discourses fail to adequately explain the practice of offshore BPO and that in cultural, economical, ethical, and political terms, it is much more complex.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Danielle P. Zandee and Diana Bilimoria

The paper aims to explore an affirmative, discursive perspective for its potential to expand the current understanding of processes of institutional transformation.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to explore an affirmative, discursive perspective for its potential to expand the current understanding of processes of institutional transformation.

Design/methodology/approach

First the notion of institutional transformation is discussed and the “discursive model of institutionalization” as developed by Phillips et al. is described. Then the concept of “positive textual deviance” is introduced and defined. The discursive model is read to explore possibilities for institutional transformation through instances of positive textual deviance.

Findings

The insertion of the concept of positive textual deviance into the discursive model of institutionalization reveals openings for transformation which are captured in propositions that address the agency of texts and their authors in the creation of desired change.

Originality/value

The paper is unique in its synthesis of three distinct theoretical perspectives – institutional, discursive, and affirmative – in the definition and application of positive textual deviance. Its affirmative, constructionist stance goes beyond a critical deconstruction of taken for granted practice by proposing a hopeful, emancipatory approach that enables institutional actors to become agents of change.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 27 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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