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Title: Localism and the design of political systems
Author: Harmes, Riccardo Lucian Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 2652
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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Localism places a special value on the local, and is increasingly prominent as a political doctrine. The literature suggests localism operates in three ways: bottom-up, top down and mutualistic. To assess its impact, localism needs to be seen within the broader context of multi-level governance. Here localism is examined in relation to three major themes: place, public value (PV), and institutional design. Regarding place, a key distinction is drawn between old and new localism. Old localism is about established local government, while new localism highlights the increasing room for manoeuvre that localities have in contemporary politics. This enables them to influence wider power structures, for example through trans-local organizing. With regard to public value, localist thinking makes a key contribution to core PV domains such as sustainability, wellbeing and democracy, as well as to others like territorial cohesion and intergovernmental mutuality. As for institutional design, the study is particularly concerned with ‘sub-continental’ political systems. A set of principles for the overall design of such systems is proposed, together with a framework of desirable policy outcomes at the local level. This can be used to evaluate how effective political systems are at creating public value in local settings. The thesis presents a comparative study of localism in two significant, sub-continental clusters: India/Kerala/Kollam and the EU/UK/England/Cornwall. Both can be seen as contrasting ‘exemplars’ of localism in action. In India, localism was a major factor in the nationwide local self-government reforms of 1993 and their subsequent enactment in the state of Kerala. In the EU, localism has been pursued through an economic federalism based on regions and sub-regions. This is at odds with the top-down tradition in British politics. The tension between the two approaches is being played out currently in the peripheral sub-region of Cornwall/Isles of Scilly. Cornwall’s dilemma has been sharpened by Britain’s recent decision to leave the EU. The thesis considers the wider implications of the case studies, and presents some proposals for policymakers and legislators to consider, together with suggestions for further research.
Supervisor: Massey, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Localism ; place ; scale ; multi-level governance ; public value ; sustainability ; well-being ; democracy ; cohesion ; mutuality ; system design ; India ; Gandhi ; Kerala ; European Union ; United Kingdom ; England ; Cornwall/Isles of Scilly ; the British Political Tradition