Transforming identities

Bishop, S. and Waring, J (2018) ‘Transforming professional and service user identities in the heterotopian ‘hybrid spaces’ of public–private partnerships’ Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice (on-line first)


Public–private partnerships (PPPs) are interpreted as ‘hybrid’ organisations that combine the distinct organising principles of public and private sectors. This paper develops a spatial analysis of these ‘hybrid spaces’ to understand how they transform the practices and identities of professionals and service users. Informed by Foucault’s ‘heterotopia’ concept, the paper considers how the juxtaposition of competing organising principles disrupts established identities, with patients recast as ‘consumer-travellers’ and staff as ‘productive professionals’. The tensions between these organising principles, manifest in the spatial practices of professionals and patients, create opportunities for actors to reflexively contest prescribed practices and identities.