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The Spaces of modernisation: outcomes, indicators and the local government modernisation agenda

Enticott, Gareth ORCID: and Entwistle, Tom ORCID: 2007. The Spaces of modernisation: outcomes, indicators and the local government modernisation agenda. Geoforum 38 (5) , pp. 999-1011. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.01.009

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The modernisation of local government has attempted to reinvent central–local government relations by offering freedoms and flexibilities to facilitate the governance of local issues. At the same time, a shift to outcome focussed targets as a new form of governmental rationality allows central government to delimit these opportunities. Drawing on aspects of governmentality and actor-network theory, the paper explores the tensions between these modes of government. It argues that outcome focussed targets circumscribe the limits of local governance by offering a despatialised technology of government. Using a case study of Local Public Service Agreements, the paper highlights the problems 10 English rural local authorities have experienced in their attempts to construct and negotiate a series of local policy targets with central government. The paper shows how the spatial limitations of statistical governance conspire against the construction of targets which reflect local policy priorities. In conclusion we consider the extent to which these limitations are a deliberate act of control and consider the implications for agency within networks of governmentality.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
ISSN: 00167185
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 09:10

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