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Recent European and member state policy shows innovation to be a current guiding logic of government. This article offers an analysis of how innovation, seen partly in terms of learning but more significantly in terms of research, forms part of the discourses and practices of government today. Research is now something that all actors must engage with and so constitutes the individual's self-understanding. Both the European and UK policies that I discuss speak of a shift away from excessive measurement and control in order to open the way for greater flexibility, mobility, and thus productive innovation. The openness and mobility required by these policies exemplify a shift in governmental rationality that places responsibility on the individual, not only in relation to their own conduct and performance, but also to that of society as a whole. The demand for competitiveness becomes a demand for innovation and specialisation. The notion of the Big Society is discussed as an example of the operation of the logic of innovation.