Creativity and the experts: New Labour, think tanks, and the policy process

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Schlesinger, P. (2009)

This article explores the role of expertise in public debate on creative industries policy in the United Kingdom. The first section gives an overview of the emergence of expertise in government and the rise of think tanks, locating this within a wider sociology of the intellectuals. It discusses the development of New Labour expertise in response to that of Thatcherite Conservatism in the battle to dominate public policy agendas. The second section illustrates the growth of the New Labour "policy generation" and the emergence of a cohort of experts in the fields of media, communications, and culture and discusses routes taken by them into government. The final section, based on interviews, discusses the power plays behind New Labour policy making in the creative industries field. It considers the impact of ministerial changes on the policy process, illustrates how interdepartmental rivalries introduce complexity and demonstrates how civil service expertise may be mobilised to neutralise that of outside experts. The conclusion addresses the implications of this analysis.
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