Keeping expertise in its place: understanding arm’s-length bodies as boundary organisations
Policy and administration scholars have struggled to explain the waxing and waning of arm’s-length bodies over time and across contexts. This article draws on the science and technology studies’s concept of boundary work – understood as practices which both demarcate and enable collaboration across distinct areas of expertise – to help explain variation in these institutional arrangements. Conceptualising arm’s-length bodies as boundary organisations shows how their authority rests on their capacity to enable ongoing coordination while preserving the authority and autonomy of relevant expert spheres. The article demonstrates this analytical purchase through reference to two cases in contemporary British government.
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