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Policy Boostering the Social Impact Investment Market in the UK

  • JAY WIGGAN (a1)

Under the Conservative-Liberal Coalition Government and the Conservative Government that took office in 2015, policy measures were introduced to develop a Social Impact Investment Market that harnesses private finance to invest in services to achieve social and financial outcomes. This nascent market is of growing interest amongst social scientists (Bryan and Rafferty, 2014; Whitfield, 2015; McHugh et al., 2013; Dowling, 2017; Edmiston and Nicholls, 2017), but little attention has been given to interrogating related UK Government discourse. The originality of this paper is its contribution to addressing this ‘discourse gap’; enhancing our understanding of the development and representation of impact investment in the UK. Using Hyatt's (2013a) Critical Policy Discourse Analysis Framework, a rigorous critical examination of UK Coalition and Conservative Government impact investment discourse between 2011 and 2016 is undertaken. The significance of this work lies in its contextualisation and deconstruction of UK Government texts to identify and unpack how distinct rationales, justifications and legitimations draw on and (re)produce a Broken Britain-Big Society narrative (Wiggan, 2011; Dowling and Harvie, 2014; Smith and Jones, 2015) to ‘policy booster’ financialised reconfiguration of the welfare state as the route to a better society.

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Journal of Social Policy
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