The Logic of Discipline

19 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2008 Last revised: 9 Jun 2010

See all articles by Alasdair S. Roberts

Alasdair S. Roberts

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy

Date Written: June 15, 2009


This is the first chapter of a book titled The Logic of Discipline: Global Capitalism and the Architecture of Government, published by Oxford University Press in March 2010. It argues that governmental reform in many sectors has been driven by a design philosophy which I call the logic of discipline. This logic is applied with the aim of restricting popular control over governmental functions that are critical to the operation of a globalized economy. It combines a deep skepticism about the reliability of democratic institutions with a naive faith in the capacity to effect significant systemic change through statutory or constitutional reform. The chapter surveys governmental reforms that are built on the logic of discipline. It questions the desirability and sustainability of this program of governmental redesign, especially after the onset of the global financial crisis.

Keywords: public sector reform, bureaucratic reform, democratization, globalization

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Alasdair S., The Logic of Discipline (June 15, 2009). Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 09-16, Available at SSRN:

Alasdair S. Roberts (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Amherst - School of Public Policy ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
6175999029 (Phone)

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