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The Rise and Rise of Meritocracy

Geoff Dench (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-4719-4
284 pages
February 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
The Rise and Rise of Meritocracy (1405147199) cover image
Fifty years after the term “meritocracy” was coined, this book asks where the idea of meritocracy has led.

  • A team of commentators consider diverse topics such as family and meritocracy, meritocracy and ethnic minorities, and what is meant by talent

  • Contains commentaries by a selection of researchers, activists and politicians, from Asa Briggs to David Willetts, on the origin, meaning and future of meritocracy

  • Demonstrates that Michael Young, who wrote The Rise of the Meritocracy, was right to question the viability of political systems trying to organise themselves around the idea of meritocracy

  • Essential reading for everyone interested in where we are going, and the future of New Labour itself
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Acknowledgements.

Notes on Contributors.

Introduction: Reviewing Meritocracy: Geoff Dench.

Part I: Origin and reception.

The Labour Party as crucible: Asa Briggs.

Meritocracy in the civil service, 1853-1970: Jon Davis.

A tract for the times: Paul Barker.

We sat down at the table of privilege and complained about the food: Hilary Land.

The chequered career of a cryptic concept: Claire Donovan.

Looking back on Meritocracy: Michael Young.

Part II: Relevance to modern Britain.

A brief profile of the new British establishment: Jim Ogg.

Face, race and place: Merit and ethnic minorities: Michelynn Laflèche.

Marginalised young men: Yvonne Roberts.

The unmaking of the English working class: Ferdinand Mount.

Age and inequality: Eric Midwinter.

Ship of state in peril: Peregrine Worsthorne.

Part III: Analytic value.

The moral economy of meritocracy: Irving Louis Horowitz.

Japan at the meritocracy frontier: From here, where?: Takehiko Kariya and Ronald Dore.

Just rewards: Meritocracy fifty years later: Peter Marris.

What do we mean by talent?: Richard Sennett.

Resolving the conflict between family and meritocracy: Belinda Brown.

Meritocracy and popular legitimacy: Peter Saunders.

Part IV: The future.

The new assets agenda: Andrew Gamble and Rajiv Prabhakar.

New Labour and the withering away of the working class?: Jon Cruddas.

A delay on the road to meritocracy: Peter Wilby.

Putting social contribution back into merit: Geoff Dench.

Ladder of opportunity or engine of inequality?: Ruth Lister.

The future of meritocracy: David Willetts.

Chapter notes.

Bibliography.

Notes on Contributors.

Index.

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Geoff Dench is a senior research fellow of the Young Foundation, and was formerly head of sociology and social policy at Middlesex University. He has written a number of books on ethnic relations and on family relationships, and edited several collections.
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  • A team of commentators consider diverse topics such as family and meritocracy, meritocracy and ethnic minorities, and what is meant by talent
  • Contains commentaries by a selection of researchers, activists and politicians, from Asa Briggs to David Willetts, on the origin, meaning and future of meritocracy
  • Demonstrates that Michael Young, who wrote The Rise of the Meritocracy, was right to question the viability of political systems trying to organise themselves around the idea of meritocracy
  • Essential reading for everyone interested in where we are going, and the future of New Labour itself
See More
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