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    'Solving' social problems with markets and measurement: a critical study of social impact investing

    Daggers, Jessica (2019) 'Solving' social problems with markets and measurement: a critical study of social impact investing. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Advocates of social investment claim it is a new way to solve society’s most intractable problems. They have proposed and begun to develop a market for social investment finance, where social sector organisations can go to find appropriate sources of finance, and investors can invest their capital for both social and financial return. In this thesis social investment is construed as a Foucaultian ‘programme of government’ that operates within a form of liberal governmentality. Governing the self-interested individual is a central concern of liberalism, and the concept of interest proves fruitful in pulling apart contrasting lines of reasoning about what social investment should look like. First, I argue that the more radical of these versions of social investment puts forward an entirely technical vision of social change, one that assumes interests can ultimately be aligned without conflict. This vision relies on two mechanisms, the market and measurement, which together establish a factual, value-free basis for action. The technical nature of these mechanisms lends a neutral appearance to social investment, but I argue, second, that framing reality in this matter has a series of effects. Ultimately, the purpose of the thesis is not to attack social investment or assess whether it is a good or bad thing, but to arrive at a position where its neutrality is uprooted and its effects can be identified. The thesis therefore establishes grounds for much-needed ongoing critique of the effects of pursuing a technical vision of social change.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 13:55
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 13:52


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