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Title: New labour and the public sphere : a normative critique
Author: Ramsey, Philip Trevor
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5060
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2011
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New Labour was the party of government in the UK from 1997-2010. During this period it implemented many changes to the way government communication operated, leading to a type of communication that was widely criticised as 'spin'. This thesis seeks to provide a normative critique of government communication under New Labour. It does so by suggesting that the model of the public sphere, as primarily forwarded by Jürgen Habermas in the Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, can give rise to a set of normative principles that suggest how government ought to communicate. The normative model that is outlined represents an original contribution to knowledge, and advances the theoretical understanding of how the public sphere model might be applied to contemporary political communication. In discussing the public sphere under New Labour, this thesis addresses the role of the Internet, online public services and the UK Parliament in shaping the public sphere. It also attempts to define a certain type of 'spin' that was in use in government under New Labour, and argues that it is both necessary and possible to limit spin in government communication, through internal and external regulation. To do so the normative model comprises five principles from public sphere theory that are representative of a type of government communication that allows the public sphere to function as it is meant to. In arriving at this argument, this thesis draws on a range of governmental and parliamentary reports and inquiries. This thesis undertakes a detailed analysis of the communication structures that developed under New Labour, and argues that the party established in government many of the communication techniques that it had employed in opposition. This thesis concludes by arguing that government communication under New Labour had a greater role in developing the private sphere rather than the public sphere.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available