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  • Cited by 54
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: September 2009

2 - Place, identity and local politics: analysing initiatives in deliberative governance

Summary

The challenge of governance transformation

There is widespread agreement across Europe on the need for innovation in the forms and practices of contemporary governance. Within the neo-liberal discourse, this is sometimes cast as the need for ‘less government’ overall, justifying practices of privatization and deregulation. However, as the introduction to this book makes clear, the pressures for governance change are much more fundamental than this. They reflect both the contemporary reconfiguring of state–economy–civil-society relations and a shift in how societies and polities are understood. The challenge being experienced across Europe atthe beginning of the twenty-first century is to recast governance agendas and practices around new foci and new relations. This chapter explores the micro-social relations of such transformative efforts through a particular case of ‘partnership’ relations to promote ‘place qualities’, analysed through an evaluation framework developed within the tradition of interpretative policy analysis.

Within many parts of western Europe, the organizational forms and routines of formal government have been grounded in the mid-century welfare state model (Esping-Anderson 1990). This typically divided policy agendas into ‘sectors’, which were concerned with the provision of services to meet universal needs (education, health and welfare), and support for economic sectors (for example agriculture, fisheries, mineral extraction, the various branches of industry). National governments took a strong role in designing and financing the resultant programmes.