The function, significance and limitations of 'globalisation' in the New Labour discourse
This thesis critically examines the idea of 'globalisation' in the New Labour discourse over the period 1996- 2001, challenging the version articulated by key members of the party. This task involves contesting and reinterpreting the implications imputed to the process both at the domestic and international levels. The understanding and implications of 'globalisation' have changed over time. It herefore distinguish two phases. The first phase I associate exclusively with Tony Blair. This understanding focuses on the domestic significance of globalisation, and conflates the process with liberalisation. In this phase globalisation functions to de-politicise a 'third way' agenda, which is presented as if it were the only logical alternative for a party of the centre left. A second phase, the chief contributors to which are Tony Blair and Robin Cook, concentrates on the international significance of globalisation. Both argue for a move beyond traditional realist approaches to foreign policy, stressing instead the role globalisation plays in creating a 'global interest'. Drawing upon developments in the literature, the thesis challenges the New Labour position firstly by questioning the implications of globalisation drawn out by them, as empirically untenable. Globalisation does not necessarily limit the room for manoeuvre in the way suggested by Blair, nor does it imply an increased harmony of interests forming around the idea of a global interest. However, in offering an alternative interpretation this study highlights that globalisation should not merely be understood in terms of whether its usage is right or wrong. In addition, the thesis argues for a critical hermeneutic approach to be taken on the topic. It is argued that the current form globalisation takes is reproduced because it functions in particular contexts to serve a political agenda within the party. This reveals an ideological dimension in the discourse, drawing attention to the ways in which the meaning of globalisation is manipulated in order to serve an alternative set of interests not declared in the discourse itself, thereby manifesting itself in a particular form over time.