Accounting for State Intervention: The Social Histories of “Beneficiaries”

Krause, Monika. 2010. Accounting for State Intervention: The Social Histories of “Beneficiaries”. Qualitative Sociology, 33(4), pp. 533-547. ISSN 0162-0436 [Article]

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How does the state imagine the people? In what ways does it come to know the targets of its policies? This paper examines the transformation of the state through a focus on the visions implied in tools and practices of results-based management in state bureaucracies. When scholars have discussed the state’s vision or imagination they have often critically examined how the state constructs aggregates of the population as a whole. But an emphasis on or critique of aggregation can only be the beginning of understanding the multiple and sometimes contradictory ways in which people are imagined in governance today. Results-based management has created a new way in which the state imagines people. In some policy arenas citizens have been turned into “beneficiaries” through the practices of state managers. Beneficiaries differ from citizen in a number of ways: Citizens are thought to benefit from policies with broad goals; beneficiaries are shown to benefit from specific interventions. Citizens are owed service; beneficiaries are selected for intervention if it suits specific funding priorities. Citizens are the origins of politics and the end of policies; beneficiaries are a means to an organization’s success.

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December 2010Published

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22 Nov 2011 15:43

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29 Apr 2020 15:49

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