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Neoliberalism, big society, and progressive localism

Williams, Andrew ORCID:, Goodwin, Mark and Cloke, Paul 2014. Neoliberalism, big society, and progressive localism. Environment and Planning A 46 (12) , pp. 2798-2815. 10.1068/a130119p

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In the UK the current Coalition government has introduced an unprecedented set of reforms to welfare, public services, and local governance under the rubric of ‘localism’. Conventional analytics of neoliberalism have commonly portrayed the impacts of these changes in the architectures of governance in blanket terms: as an utterly regressive dilution of local democracy; as an extension of conservative political technology by which state welfare is denuded in favour of market-led individualism; and as a further politicised subjectification of the charitable self. Such seemingly hegemonic grammars of critique can ignore or underestimate the progressive possibilities for creating new ethical and political spaces in amongst the neoliberal canvas. In this paper we investigate the localism agenda using alternative interpretative grammars that are more open to the recognition of interstitial politics of resistance and experimentation that are springing up within, across, and beyond formations of the neoliberal. We analyse the broad framework of intentional localisms laid down by the Coalition government, and then point to four significant pathways by which more progressive articulations of localism have been emerging in amongst the neoliberal infrastructure. In so doing we seek to endorse and expand imaginations of political activism that accentuate an interstitial political sensibility that works strategically, and even subversively, with the tools at hand.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Additional Information: Released with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC BY-NC-ND)
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0308-518X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 April 2016
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:21

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