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Book review: Decentring urban governance: narratives, resistance and contestation


Jacobs, K, Book review: Decentring urban governance: narratives, resistance and contestation, Housing Studies, 34, (8) pp. 1372-1374. (2019) [Review Single Work]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Routledge

DOI: doi:10.1080/02673037.2019.1647993


Over the last decade or so many scholars have become pessimistic about the opportunities to resist the impost of reactionary neoliberal policies. Decentring Urban Governance: Narratives, Resistance and Contestation provides a more positive account that suggests that despite austerity there are openings for more progressive forms of politics. The book consists of an introduction and eight UK case studies that were all conducted at a time of government austerity measures that resulted in major cuts to welfare programmes. In the introductory chapter, Mark Bevir, Kim McKee and Peter Matthews discuss the concept of governance and its utility for understanding the role of the contemporary state. The concept of governance has appeal, they claim, because the state often engages in contradictory roles and has been weakened by the acceleration of globalised forms of finance, neoliberal ideology and the tax avoidance strategies of large corporations that operate across national borders. Bevir et al. make a point of explaining the interdisciplinary nature of governance research but make a distinction between ‘state-centred’ approaches that stress the continuing importance of government, and ‘society- centred’ approaches that consider marketisation and other features that follow on from a weakened and ‘rolled-back neoliberal state’ (p.2). Both state- and society- centred approaches, whilst adopting different vantage points, draw similar conclusions, i.e. that the state has become more fragmented and networks thrive.

Item Details

Item Type:Review Single Work
Keywords:urban governance, narratives, resistance, contestation
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Public services policy advice and analysis
UTAS Author:Jacobs, K (Professor Keith Jacobs)
ID Code:134469
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2019-08-14
Last Modified:2021-03-11

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