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Risks, Opportunities and the Social Technology of Political Judgment\ud in the Times of the New Economy

By Albena Azmanova


A framework of political judgment has been rapidly emerging in recent years, linking, within its normative and cognitive parameters, the liberalization of the international compact (‘disembedded liberalism’) with policies of labour re-commodifiction in advanced industrial democracies. This paper attempts to expose the social technology of political judgment enabling the trans-ideological consensus in support of re-commodification. Bringing political economy (back) into the project of discourse theory, this analysis relates the framework of judgment guiding policy choices to the aggregate social impact of the new economy, expressed politically in an emerging electoral re-alignment across Europe. My leading hypothesis is that a new opportunity-risk vector of alignment, styled by attitudes to globalisation, is opting out to replace the capital-labour dynamics of conflict and consensus that underpinned the welfare state. This realignment is now shaping the cognitive and normative frameworks of valid political reason-formation within national polities.\ud \ud I propose to see the particular social technology that alters the parameters of political judgment in terms of interaction between three elements: 1) the social basis of political interest articulation; 2) collective perceptions of relevant public goods (the demand side of political mobilisation); 3) the patterned policy response of political actors (the supply side of political mobilisation). \ud \ud The dynamics of interaction between these three elements are incurring (within a constitutive, rather than causal, logic) long-term changes in the normative and cognitive frameworks of post-industrial societies. These changes ultimately direct (enable and constrain) the articulation of justice claims within a socially meaningful framework of valid political reason-formation

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