Sectorial reforms and the monstration of modernity

The uses of managerial knowledge in employment and food policies
By Thomas Alam, Jérôme Godard

This article provides a comparative analysis of the mobilization and importation of managerial knowledge in employment and food reform policies in the middle of the 1980s and at the end of the 1990s. The commonalities between both reform processes rest on the fact that the recourse to managerial tools and discourses cannot be interpreted as an alignment to international policy norms imposed from the outside. Rather, thank to critical conjunctures, managerial knowledge is developed to become a resource used by reformist groups to enhance their position, as well as the position of their sector, within the administration. As such, the article focuses on the different ways to legitimize policy reform (its conformity to international "good practices", its scientific grounding, its closeness with the business world) that arise from using managerial knowledge in reform projects. The mobilization of its references guarantees the claims of modernity in the administrative activities at stake. It consequently participates in the (always precarious) revalorization of relatively "dominated" sectors and public policies.

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