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The New Technocracy (2020)

(Publisher : Bristol University Press)

Author(s) : Anders Esmark

Anders Esmark is Associate Professor in Public Organization and Policy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen.


This book offers an updated understanding of the theory and practice of technocracy. Along the way, it shows the ways that the contemporary rise of populism can be explained by the widening gap between the new technocracy and the lived experiences of citizens it seeks it govern.


Setting a new benchmark for studies of technocracy, this book shows that a solution to the challenge of populism will depend as much on a technocratic retreat as democratic innovation. Esmark examines the development since the 1980s of a new 'post-industrial' technocratic regime and its complicity in the populist backlash against politics and political elites that is visible today.

The new technocracy – a combination of network governance, risk management and performance management – has, the author argues, abandoned the overtly anti-democratic sentiments of its industrial predecessor and proclaimed a new partnership with democracy. The rise of populism, however, is a clear sign that the inherent problems of this partnership have been exposed and that technocracy posing as democracy will only serve to exacerbate existing problems.


“This book is the perfect place to start trying to understand the significance of technocracy in the contemporary era.” Christopher Bickerton, University of Cambridge

“Makes an original contribution by arguing that populism’s rise can be explained by a widening gap between the ideas of a ‘new’ technocracy on the one hand and the lived experiences of everyday citizens on the other.” Paul Fawcett, University of Melbourne

Table of contents

Rediscovering Technocracy

Technocratic Revolutions: From Industrial to Post-industrial Technocracy

Who are the Technocrats? From the Technostructure to Technocratic Government

The Technocratic Regime: Technocracy, Bureaucracy and Democracy

Technocratic Organization: The Power of Networks

Technocratic Regulation: Coping with Risk and Uncertainty

Technocratic Calculation: Economy, Evidence and Experiments

New Populism vs New Technocracy

Reining Technocracy Back In?

Conclusion: Technocracy at the End of the World

Bibliographic Information

Esmark, A. (2020). The New Technocracy (1st ed.). Bristol University Press.


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