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Urban Politics Reconsidered: Growth Machine to Post-Democratic City?

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  • Gordon MacLeod

    ()
    (Department of Geography, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.)

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    Abstract

    Over the past three decades, research in urban politics or increasingly urban governance reveals a landscape powerfully reflecting what might now be defined as a post-political consensus. Following a waning of the community power, urban managerialist and collective consumption debates, this ‘new urban politics’ has appeared conspicuously absorbed with analysing a purported consensus around economic growth alongside a proliferation of entrepreneurially oriented governing regimes. More recent contributions, acknowledging the role of the state and governmentalities of criminal justice, uncover how downtown renaissance is inscribed through significant land privatisations and associated institutionalised expressions like Business Improvement Districts and other ‘primary definers’ of ‘public benefit': all choreographed around an implicit consensus to ‘police’ the circumspect city, while presenting as ultra-politics anything that might disturb the strict ethics of consumerist citizenship. Beyond downtown, a range of shadow governments, secessionary place-makings and privatisms are remaking the political landscape of post-suburbia. It is contended that the cumulative effect of such metropolitan splintering may well be overextending our established interpretations of urban landscapes and city politics, prompting non-trivial questions about the precise manner in which political representation, democracy and substantive citizenship are being negotiated across metropolitan regions, from downtown streetscape to suburban doorstep. This paper suggests that recent theorisations on post-democracy and the post-political may help to decode the contemporary landscape of urban politics beyond governance, perhaps in turn facilitating a better investigation of crucial questions over distributional justice and metropolitan integrity.

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    File URL: http://usj.sagepub.com/content/48/12/2629.abstract
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Urban Studies Journal Limited in its journal Urban Studies.

    Volume (Year): 48 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 12 (September)
    Pages: 2629-2660

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:48:y:2011:i:12:p:2629-2660

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    Web page: http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/urbanstudiesjournal

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