Neoliberalization by Evaluation: Explaining the Making of Neoliberal Evaluative State


Starting from the late seventies neoliberalism has emerged as the new global hegemonic par-adigm. Several studies demonstrated that different factors facilitated the global spread of neoliberalism, but little attention has been paid to the role played by evaluation both in legitimizing the neoliberalization of the state and in explaining the resilience of neoliberalism. The article argues that evaluation is a strategy of action which is able to emphasize the adaptive capacity of neoliberalism to different socio-political con-texts and the neoliberal purpose to depoliticize public action. The contribution aims to illustrate how eval-uation works on a twofold level. On the one hand, evaluation is a tool of global governance that acts nor-matively to homogenize states’ action consistently with some neoliberal values, such as competitiveness and economic efficiency. On the other hand, to conform to such values, variegated forms of evaluation are implemented by each state in order to introduce market rationality in non-economic domains, such as ed-ucation and health system. Referring to some empirical cases, these two overlapping processes are termed as the "evaluated state" and "evaluative state". As a result, neoliberalization by evaluation is a process in-volving the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v9i2p495

Keywords: Evaluation; Governance; Neoliberalism; Neoliberalization; State


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