Jonathan Davies

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations


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This article evaluates the nature and significance of the localist turn, set in a theoretical and historical context. It explains two salient contradictions in New Labour's localism: its simultaneous appeals to market entrepreneurialism and conservative communitarianism and the fact that despite the rhetoric of localism, political centralism has increased. It first addresses the normative foundations of localism and centralism. It then explores how different conceptions of power have affected the study of localism. The emergence of contemporary localism is considered, before proceeding to examine the New Labour approach since 1997. The final section explains the Blair Paradox in terms of contradictions within neoliberalism. It is shown that if the coercive strategies of dissident movements are to be effective locally in the long term, they will have to assert themselves on the national and perhaps the international stages in an attempt to replace neoliberal capitalism.

Keywords: localism; New Labour; Blair Paradox; neoliberalism; market entrepreneurialism; conservative communitarianism; political centralism; power

Article.  8661 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Regional Political Studies

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