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Assembling calculative infrastructures

Kurunmaki, Liisa, Mennicken, Andrea ORCID: 0000-0002-5658-7678 and Miller, Peter (2019) Assembling calculative infrastructures. In: Kornberger, M., Pollock, N., Miller, P., Mennicken, A., Bowker, G., Nucho, J.R. and Elyachar, J., (eds.) Thinking Infrastructures. Research in the Sociology of Organizations,62. Emerald Group Publishing, pp. 17-42. ISBN 9781787695580

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Identification Number: 10.1108/S0733-558X20190000062002


Much has been made of economizing. Yet, social scientists have paid little attention to the moment of economic failure, the moments that precede it, and the calculative infrastructures and related processes through which both failing and failure are made operable. This chapter examines the shift from the economizing of the market economy, which took place across much of the nineteenth century, to the economizing and marketizing of the social sphere, which is still ongoing. The authors consider a specific case of the economizing of failure, namely the repeated attempts over more than a decade to create a failure regime for National Health Service (NHS) hospitals. These attempts commenced with the Health and Social Care Act 2003, which drew explicitly on the Insolvency Act 1986. This promised a “failure regime” for NHS Foundation Trusts modeled on the corporate sector. Shortly after the financial crash, and in the middle of one of the biggest scandals to face NHS hospitals, these proposals were abandoned in favor of a regime based initially on the notion of “de-authorization.” The notion of de-authorization was then itself abandoned, in favor of the notion of “unsustainable provider,” most recently also called the Trust Special Administrators regime. The authors suggest that these repeated attempts to devise a failure regime for NHS hospitals have lessons that go beyond the domain of health care, and that they highlight important issues concerning the role that “exit” models and associated calculative infrastructures may play in the economizing and regulating of public services and the social sphere more broadly.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 11:21
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 00:21

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