One of the stimuli for doing this research with academic rigour was the breadth of reading required. To date, I’ve dipped my feet in philosophy, politics, computer science, management, social policy, social work and many other areas!

Somehow I came across a two-year project from a few years ago at the OU entitled ‘Creating Citizen-Consumers: Changing Relationships and Identifications’, and now I’m in the middle of reading, courtesy of York University library – Creating Citizen-Consumers by Clarke, Newman, Smith, Vidler & Westmarland, SAGE, 2007. It’s not an easy read, full of Foucault and Giddens but I can see light and that includes research that indicates that the users of public services don’t identify themselves as ‘customers’.

If anyone wants to read some of these arguments against the commodification of public services put forward in leaflet form, Catalyst have kindly provided Catherine Needham’s 2003 leaflet ‘Citizen Consumers, New Labour’s marketplace democracy‘ as a free download.

The issue to me now, is how we dig ourselves out of this mess!


If you are interested and, preferably, in UK local government please complete the survey, it doesn’t take long at all. I’ll keep feeding back through these pages, which are also covered by and PSF.




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