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The freelance project manager as an agent of governmentality: evidence from a UK local authority

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ewan MackenzieORCiD, Dr Edward Barratt



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge , 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Against the background of the era of economic austerity, this chapter presents case study evidence showing how efforts to promote project management at a British local authority rely on the work of freelance consultants. Inspired by Foucauldian scholarship, we conceive the expertise of project management as a technology of governmental power, commenting on the practices and identities of the consultants. We show them to be advocates of their own distinctive understandings and ways of enacting project expertise, whilst also showing how certain forms of tactical yet limited ‘resistance’ are defined by the key targets of their intervention: local government workers. The broader implications and dangers of project management for democracy in local government in the UK are considered.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mackenzie E, Barratt E

Editor(s): Hodgson, D; Freds, M; Bailey, S.J; Hall, P;

Series Editor(s): Osborne, S.P;

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management: The Projectification of the Public Sector

Year: 2019

Print publication date: 20/03/2019

Acceptance date: 01/05/2018

Edition: 1st

Series Title: Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management

Publisher: Routledge

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780367183332