Read e-book online Citizens, Consumers and Councils: Local Government and the PDF

By John Gyford (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333525353

ISBN-13: 9780333525357

ISBN-10: 1349215368

ISBN-13: 9781349215362

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In Stoker's words, 'the Fordist approach of providing a standard product for a captive user is no longer viable'. Instead there is taking place a 'trend· away from standardised products towards differentiated products aimed at 32 Citizens, Consumers and Councils different consumer groups' (Stoker, 1989, pp. 162-4). The need for local authorities to move in that direction does not however need to be accounted for solely in terms of the post-Fordist paradigm. It can also be seen as reflecting the growth of a more diverse and more demanding public whose existence may indeed be compatible with the notion of a consumer led, rather than producer led postFordism, but whose origins may lie in a different direction altogether and whose pressure seems likely to move local government ever further away from the centralised, all-embracing county borough model of the golden age of municipal provision.

Within such activities Allison found signs of the 'practices which give meaning to life by relating us to our place, and to each other'. From that perspective the processes of variegation and diversification which could appear to threaten fragmentation and fission might also provide the potential for a healthy and vigorous pluralism of social and political action. Such a possibility becomes all the more likely if we recall that Britain's growing social diversity before and during the 1980s had been accompanied by the growth of more assertive and more participative attitudes amongst the public.

One account suggests that councils respond to such activities on the basis of three criteria, namely the nature of the group, the nature of its demands and the method by which the demand is communicated (Dearlove, 1973, p. 157). Councils are more likely to respond favourably to groups which they identify as being supportive of the council's goals, making demands in tune with council policy and using established channels of communication. Another interpretation identifies the importance of social networks in allowing the personnel of local government and of the world of group action to meet informally and thereby to enhance mutual understanding and sympathy.

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Citizens, Consumers and Councils: Local Government and the Public by John Gyford (auth.)

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