Consumers, clients or citizens? Politics, policy and practice in the reform of social care.
European Societies, 8(3) pp. 423–442.
In the United Kingdom, New Labour articulated a consumerist view of the relationship between the public and public services. Its view of the citizen-as-consumer was the source of considerable political controversy and debate - both within and beyond public services. In this paper, I explore four aspects of consumerism in relation to social care in the United Kingdom: the political context of the rise of the 'citizen-consumer'; the place of the citizen-consumer in social care policy; the responses of organisations providing social care to consumerist pressures and lastly the impact of consumerism on characteristic tensions in public services.
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