Reconstructing Technocracy in the Era of Privatization

Friday, June 24, 2016: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
119 Moses (Moses Hall)
Michael McQuarrie, London School of Economics, London, United Kingdom
Theories of contemporary governance have focused particular attention on privatization, distributed power, and cross-sectoral collaboration. While it is certainly true that these dynamics are transforming contemporary governance, it has paid less attention to the ways in which the public sector is appropriating repertoires in order to reconstitute its own authority. This paper focuses on the governance of transportation in London with particular attention to the ways it has been “re-publicized”. Indeed, the privatization efforts of Margaret Thatcher are being reversed as private contracts are being taken over by the public agency, Transport for London. How has TfL rebuilt the authority of public technocracies and what are the advantages and costs of TfL’s novel approach? Finally, is it being imitated elsewhere? This paper will focus attention on the re-imagination of technocracy as an accountable and relational form of expertise.