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Journal Articles French Politics Year : 2021

Exercising knowledge of costs


The tropes of restraint and remediation that accompany the reform of public services and public administrations often locate in efficient costing the key to the state’s economic fitness. Knowledge of costs does not feature in such reforms solely as information conducive to the strengthening of budgetary reform. It is also knowledge that needs to be practised and exercised in order to achieve a virtuous modification of the conduct of the state. The case of public hospitals and universities in France illustrates how knowledge of costs is made sense of by state practitioners as a behavioural lever. A Foucauldian angle on the narratives and policies that inform such exercising of knowledge of costs reveals the contours of a new paradigm of the state’s self-care.
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halshs-02937977 , version 1 (20-05-2022)



Marie Alauzen, Fabian Muniesa, Alexandre Violle. Exercising knowledge of costs: behavioural politics of economic restraint in French public service reform. French Politics, 2021, 19 (1), p. 65-80. ⟨10.1057/s41253-020-00131-9⟩. ⟨halshs-02937977⟩
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