Elite Discourse on the Political Economy of the Royal Navy and British Naval Sea Power: New Public Management Theory as Modernisation - Back to the Future
Granfield, Mark Howard
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
At the beginning of the twenty-first century a burgeoning global private military sector is increasingly involved in areas of defence and security that, up until recently, were popularly thought of as being within the monopolistic preserve of the nation state. Finding itself at the vanguard of profound political and economic change, today’s Royal Navy is increasingly reliant on relationships with the private sector that only thirty years ago would have seemed unimaginable to many commentators. As naval shipbuilding, dockyard refitting, logistics, training, and even warship ownership and manning, move from a unitary state to an increasingly self-organising private sector bounded by a differentiated and decentered polity, this thesis is concerned with boundaries of elite discourse on legitimacy in the political economy of Royal Navy and British naval sea power and their implications for New Public Management theory. At its core, the study presents original research into the attitudes of fifty elite opinion formers directly concerned with the discourse of Royal Navy modernisation and profiles their ideational boundaries concerning the political economy of force and violence. The thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by presenting empirically and framing theoretically the ways in which elite naval attitudes to the political economy of legitimated force have changed and are evolving. The research is important because it challenges what many commentators have come to believe to be an a priori function of the nation state, namely, the monopoly use of force, with the actual views of those opinion formers who currently hold positions of power and influence in and around one of its core ‘ideal type’ institutions: the Royal Navy. The research is also significant because in attempting to clarify the conceptual boundaries of this elite discourse, it also presents a powerful critique of New Public Management with reference to the problematic dimensions of time, economic complexity and socio-political power.
PhD in Politics