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Title: The (post)-politics of austerity urbanism : policing and politicising local governance in London after the crisis
Author: Penny, Joe
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 8448
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Ten years after the Global Financial Crisis, this thesis explores the unfolding consequences of this event for local government and politics in London. Far from signalling a ‘ruptural’ end of neoliberal modes of urban governance, the analysis presented here shows how local authorities in London are actively articulating with, mediating, and assembling central government’s radical programme of austerity. More than engendering a simple consolidation or intensification of ‘business as usual’ in a leaner register however, it is suggested that the current moment of austerity urbanism augurs a new operational matrix for local government with path changing consequences. Combining insights from post-foundational theory with in-depth qualitative empirical research, this thesis presents an in-depth ground-up analysis of how austerity urbanism has been ‘policed’ and ‘politicised’. It argues that a post-politicising ‘common sense’ over how austerity should be rolled-out is legible across London’s local authorities, based on logics of responsibilisation, contractualisation and entrepreneurialism. On the one hand, local authorities are managing demand for and divesting of services by responsibilising staff, community groups, and residents under the auspices of participatory governance whilst extending and deepening contractual arrangements with non-governmental and private providers. On the other hand, under pressure to generate new forms of revenue, local authorities are forming new real-estate special purpose vehicles to create and capture urban land and property value as rents. Whilst seeming to reproduce a condition of ‘post-political’ closure, as austerity deepens and contradictions sharpen these modes of local governance face mounting dissent from a growing part with no part. In this context, the political horizon of local government is an ambivalent one. At a moment of closure, austerity urbanism is producing opportunities for radical democratic openings even if they do not yet suggest a tipping point that could change how and for whom local government works.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available