Subversive citizens: power, agency and resistance in public services

Marian Barnes (Editor), David Prior (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - edited


Many of the recent reforms in public serviced in the UK have been driven by the image of the ‘responsible citizen’ – the service user who does not only have rights to receive services but also has responsibilities for the delivery of policy outcomes. In this way, citizens’ everyday conduct is shaped by governmental action, yet there is much evidence that both front line staff in public services and the people who sue them can sometimes act in ways that modify, disrupt or negate intended policy outcomes. This book presents a highly original examination of how official policy objectives can be ‘subverted’ through the actions of staff and users. It examines the role of public policy in the creation of ‘good citizenship’ and how theories of power and agency are useful in analyzing the engagement between public policies (and those employed to deliver them) and the citizens at whom they are targeted. The idea of subversive citizenship is explored through theoretical and empirical analyses by a range of prominent social researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherThe Policy Press
ISBN (Print)9781847422071
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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