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Title: Making relationships of power visible in the Northern Ireland Housing Association audit : a governmentality critique
Author: Cooke, Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 9454
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis considers the auditing of housing associations within Northern Ireland. The auditing of housing associations in Northern Ireland is a complex process within which a multiplicity of different relationships of power exists. Besides being complex, I argue that the Department of Social Development (DSD) audit process is not a transparent process. The lack of transparency is not helped because, generally, government departments tend to speak with rhetoric. This thesis suggests that the DSD audit process should be made visible and that housing associations should have the confidence to speak with parrésia. Analysing technologies of power and their normalising effects within the voluntary housing sector, I consider, subject inactions and reactions to the audit’s normalising processes. The ability (or inability) of low-level actors to counter-conduct, speak with parrésia, and engage with bottom-up surveillance technologies are considered as responses to the DSD’s normalisation processes. After examining the technologies of power utilised by the DSD and the technologies of resistance available to subjects to counter-conduct, I suggest how subject information and individual knowledge can be improved. Care-of-the-self (soul) as originally considered by Socrates and thereafter by Michel Foucault is explored within this thesis. The courage to speak fearlessly to the Master (in this case the DSD Audit team) is explored by examining a series of individual housing association audit reports. Acquisition of knowledge helps emancipate low-level actors. Within this thesis I examine how various bottom-up surveillance technologies (e.g. the Freedom of Information Act) can impact upon the triangular relationship that exists between knowledge, truth and the subject. The technologies and relationships of power that exist within the NI voluntary housing sector are considered within the context of Socratic examination, ethical parrésia, knowledge acquisition and the formation of one’s individual truth; in order to set free Master and Servant alike.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available