We have just published a book on this research which charts the emergence of the behaviour change agenda in UK based public policy making since the late 1990s.
On the Rise of the Psychological State
Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett and Mark Whitehead
(Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham)
Copies available here.
‘This groundbreaking book provides a meticulously-researched history of the rise of a new state that aims to govern people by changing their behaviour through influencing (or at least claiming to influence) their psyche. With examples from finance, transport, health and environment, it also illustrates the struggles of citizens who fight against this new agenda of government. The book shows how deeply the psyche has become a different site of power and hence a different object of knowledge over the last two or three decades.’
– Engin Isin, the Open University, UK
Contents: Preface 1. Changing Behaviours and ‘New Models of Man’ 2. The Rise of the Psychological State in the UK 3. In the Heat of the Moment: Gambling and Saving Behaviours 4. Replanning the Street: Changing Behaviours by Spatial Design 5. Governing the Body: Addressing the Temptations of Food and Alcohol 6. Greening the Brain: The Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change Agenda Conclusion: Nudge, Think, Steer, Punch! Searching for the Real Third Way References Index
By tracing the influence of the behavioural sciences on Whitehall policy makers, the authors explore a new psychological orthodoxy in the practices of governing. Drawing on original empirical material, chapters examine the impact of behaviour change policies in the fields of health, personal finance and the environment. This topical and insightful book analyses how the nature of the human subject itself is re-imagined through behaviour change, and develops an analytical framework for evaluating the ethics, efficacy and potential empowerment of behaviour change.
This unique book will be of interest to advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and academics in a range of different disciplines. In particular, its inter-disciplinary focus on key themes in the social sciences – the state, citizenship, the meaning and scope of government – will make it essential reading for students of political science, sociology, anthropology, geography, policy studies and public administration. In addition, the book’s focus on the practical use of psychological and behavioural insights by politicians and policy makers should lead to considerable interest in psychology and behavioural economics.