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Title: Public involvement and civic rationalism in local authority planning and decision making
Author: Kidney, Tyrone Christopher
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2002
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This work considers the potential contribution of rational actor and behaviouralist models of political and participatory culture, in understanding specific contemporary issues within the topic of public participation in the decision making activities of UK local authorities. The basis for the research was a range of disruptive or confounding phenomena reported in various literatures, that either generate antipathy during schemes or create negative pre-conceptions that could affect future projects. It is suggested that an appreciation of these confounding factors, when viewed in the context of streamlining local authorities and a rationally acting public, can help us understand issues such as non-participation, apparent apathy in public involvement and certain participatory dynamics. It is argued that understanding these issues is vital, especially given the emergence of the Modernisation Agenda in the UK which places a great deal of importance on the consultative activities of local authorities. The research draws upon Almond and Verba’s Civic Culture theory (1963) and the work of the Public Choice school of political economics, especially the work of James Buchannan and Gordon Tullock, to address issues of political culture and rationalised political activity among both the public and authorities. These provided a framework for a multiple case study research design, looking at public involvement policies and schemes in two English local authorities, against a particularly dynamic policy background. The thesis identifies a range of issues that are linked to the public’s inclination to participate, that are additional to the traditionally quoted issues of apathy or unequal access to democracy. These issues are linked to the perceived effectiveness of participation and its methods, to individuals who are already acting subjectively on the basis of their values and material interests. This work offers and discusses the term ‘Civic Rationality’ to describe this mix of rationales in a participatory culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General) ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; JA Political science (General) ; JC Political theory ; JS Local government Municipal government