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Negotiating cohesion, inequality and changeUncomfortable positions in local government$
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Hannah Jones

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781447310037

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447310037.001.0001

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“You need to be totally objective, but you can’t be”

“You need to be totally objective, but you can’t be”

(p.141) Six “You need to be totally objective, but you can’t be”
Negotiating cohesion, inequality and change

Hannah Jones

Policy Press

Drawing on interviews from all of the local and national research sites, this chapter considers how policy practitioners talk about community cohesion policy and the difficult subjects it invokes in relation to themselves, how they locate themselves and are located by others. I argue that for the most part, the trope of the situated subject and situated knowledges have entered the ’common sense’ of policy practice in such a way that all interviewees said, in one way or another, that their biography influenced their practice. Some interviewees appeared to feel obliged to describe their viewpoint as particular, but would then refer to this particular viewpoint as a ’neutral’ one. Other interviewees emphasised values and ethics of equality and inclusivity ; sometimes this involved linking personal experiences of marginalisation to political commitments. My analysis of the positions interviewees took builds on debates about the proper role of a ’neutral’ bureaucrat, demonstrating how policy practitioners often recognised the impossibility of neutrality even whilst it remained an ideal, and found strategies to negotiate this.

Keywords:   policy practitioner, professional identities, solidarity, neutrality, ethics

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