Chapter

Governance at a distance? The turn to the local in UK social policy

Andrew Wallace

in Social Policy Review 21

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9781847423733
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303480 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847423733.003.0011
Governance at a distance? The turn to the local in UK social policy

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This chapter investigates ‘the turn to the local’ in UK social policy, drawing on the concept of ‘governance’. It regards this move towards the self-governance of local neighbourhoods as a genuine, yet contradictory, process. It observes that for New Labour, this process of ‘localisation’ is driven by communitarian ideas that posit the neighbourhood as the unit within which democracy can be revitalised and individuals motivated to act responsibly. It shows how the desire to devolve power to local citizens may fail as a result of particular assumptions about the nature of local space and a lack of understanding of how those citizens may wish to utilise opportunities for local governance, or of the structural contexts that help to shape their lives.

Keywords: UK social policy; self-governance; local neighbourhoods; New Labour; localisation; communitarian ideas; democracy

Chapter.  8357 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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