Anti-Technocrats: The Tyranny of Targets

  • Will Leggett


Chapter 1 showed how a key tenet of Third Way social theory is that social change has led to the redundancy, or at least the marginalisation, of the categories of left and right. It is this new ‘post-ideological’ climate that is held to be the starting point for evidence-based Third Way policy-making. This is encapsulated in the New Labour mantra of ‘what matters is what works’, revealing a stated preference for practical rather than ideological solutions in government. A group of responses to the Third Way shares this analysis of its technocratic element, but from an entirely critical perspective - here I label them ‘anti-technocrats’. The anti-technocratic position is reminiscent of the Frankfurt School critique of politics in industrial societies, although the disparate critics discussed in this chapter do not explicitly align themselves with that tradition.1 They include political scientists focusing on depoliticisation as a governing strategy, as well as theorists of governmentality and the construction of new types of political subject. The radical democratic critique of the Third Way, which criticises its attempt to eradicate antagonism, might also be included under this heading but is pursued in more detail in Chapter 7.


Capital Accumulation Welfare Reform Critical Perspective Governing Strategy Electoral Success 
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  1. 3.
    Marcuse One-Dimensional Man (1964).Google Scholar
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    Finlayson Making Sense of New Labour (2003), p. 155.Google Scholar
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    Marcuse One-Dimensional Man (1964).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Will Leggett 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Will Leggett
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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