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Title: Public space governing as the management of meaning-making
Author: Sieh, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 153X
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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The governing of urban public space involves the management of knowledge about them and about the practices that produce them. This research examines how a type of policy tool in public space production, nominally labelled ‘multicriteria tools’ (MCTs), are deployed to manage the construction of knowledge by diverse stakeholders in the interest of achieving a desired public space outcome. Mainstream governing practices characterised by the very words ‘measuring’ and ‘value’, refract preferences through a narrow and usually positivist frame, often leading to unauthentic communication and perverse outcomes. In this research, an interpretivist paradigm is applied, which assumes that people are rationalising rather than rational. Thus the MCT’s role is conceptualised as attenuating people’s beliefs and actions. The research seeks to articulate and theorise an alternative conceptualisation of governing as ‘the management of meaning construction’, where ‘value’ is a subset of ‘meaning’. In so doing, the research aims to increase the intelligibility of multi-stakeholdered governing situations in ways that would be directly relevant for the stakeholders themselves since familiarity with the substantive issues and dynamics of meaning making would help those actors become more effective. The research fleshes out a heuristic in the form of a ‘field’ model of meaning-making. This deploys an interpretivist paradigm in explaining how governing happens; governing, is thus seen in terms of the management of meaning to address societal problems. This research adds to those voices challenging the grip of orthodox ‘evidence-based’ policy-making and positivist ‘scientistic’ social science. Its original contribution is to explore this debate in the philosophy of social science within the area of built environment production. Ultimately, the aim is to increase the potential of such an alternative in addressing some practical, real and well-documented problems in public space governing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available