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Market-Based Initiatives as Solutions to Techno-Scientific Problems

Final Report Summary - MISTS (Market-Based Initiatives as Solutions to Techno-Scientific Problems)

Market-based interventions designed to solve public problems have become a pervasive feature of collective life over the last 30 years in various fields, from education and social care, to climate change, the digital economy and health. Actions that might once have come under the remit of the state, now involve a variety of different actors trying to figure out who and what is responsible for what problem, along with what might constitute a viable solution. In the MISTS project we have explored up-close what these interventions share in common, how market-based interventions have been called upon to participate in political programmes of action, and the consequences that follow from trying to introduce efficiency and effectiveness into new configurations of intervention. In much previous work, these interventions have been explored through ideas of neoliberalism and its relative coherence. In MISTS we have taken a different approach, focusing in on the devices, relations and practices of intervention to analyse how such matters as competition, trade and exchange, property and ownership have been utilised as ways to solve public problems. We have achieved this analysis through a unique long-term, comparative ethnography of market-based interventions in action.