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Public involvement and civic rationalism in local authority planning and decision making

Kidney, Tyrone Christopher 2002. Public involvement and civic rationalism in local authority planning and decision making. PhD Thesis, University of Wales Cardiff.
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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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Uncontrolled Keywords: Engagement; Decision-making; Planning; Public evidence; Policy; Civic-culture; Rational-actor; Realism; Gis ;Local-democracy
Funders: Department of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 09:48

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