From an analysis of the American health care policies, this article proposes a renewal of our understanding of the “neo-liberal turning point” of the 1970s. It highlights a dimension that is usually ignored in the classical studies of this period: the transformations that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s in the social spaces where ideas and knowledge are produced (mainly the academic space and the space of expertise). Thus it invites us to relativize the impact of the economic and budgetary context of the 1970s, which is generally considered as the trigger of the paradigmatic change. On the other hand, it underlines the interest of introducing some elements of the sociology of knowledge into the analysis of policy change.
The Case of American Health Care PolicyBy Ulrike Lepont