Subversive spheres: neighbourhoods, citizens and the ‘new governance’

Helen Sullivan

in Subversive citizens

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847422088
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303619 | DOI:
Subversive spheres: neighbourhoods, citizens and the ‘new governance’

Show Summary Details


Changes to governance institutions and practices in western democracies have created the conditions for multilevel governance, and have supported the development of new forms of political agency and organisation. This chapter sees government itself as engaged in processes of subverting or unsettling institutionalised governance processes by its emphasis on neighbourhood governance. It argues that the roots of this apparent disconnect between purpose and outcomes in neighbourhood governance are located in the differences between the values and practices of ‘big’ versus ‘small’ local governments and the tensions which arise when attempts are made to combine them. The chapter uses research evidence from an ESRC study of public participation to illustrate how the coexistence of these different interpretations generates conflict over the design and implementation of neighbourhood governance initiatives and creates opportunities for local citizens to subvert formal policy goals via strategies of reshaping, disruption, and sabotage.

Keywords: institutionalised governance; neighbourhood governance; multilevel governance; public participation; ESRC

Chapter.  6715 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.