Redefining Social Justice: New Labour, Rhetoric and Reality

The rhetoric of 'New Labour' has captured the centre ground of British politics and now frames the policy making agenda of all mainstream political parties. In linking this rhetoric to the impact of key New Labour policies on everyday life, this interdisciplinary and original book provides a timely focus on the language of contemporary political debate that assesses its practical effects and potential limitations. The chapters are written by specialist contributors from linguistics, law, education, health, sociology and politics who examine the ways in which the New Labour discourse of social justice has played out in their policy area. Many draw on original empirical research, including interviews, and the book's combination of micro and macro level analyses supports incisive and original thinking 'outside the box' of orthodox political thought. The contributors differ in their assessment of New Labour policies. Taken together, however, their chapters reveal serious problems with New Labour's rhetoric of social justice and its associated language of citizen workers, choice, opportunity, responsibility and empowerment.