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Subversive citizensPower, agency and resistance in public services$
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Marian Barnes and David Prior

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847422088

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847422088.001.0001

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Subversive spheres: neighbourhoods, citizens and the ‘new governance’

Subversive spheres: neighbourhoods, citizens and the ‘new governance’

(p.49) Four Subversive spheres: neighbourhoods, citizens and the ‘new governance’
Subversive citizens

Helen Sullivan

Policy Press

Changes to governance institutions and practices in western democracies have created the conditions for multilevel governance, and have supported the development of new forms of political agency and organisation. This chapter sees government itself as engaged in processes of subverting or unsettling institutionalised governance processes by its emphasis on neighbourhood governance. It argues that the roots of this apparent disconnect between purpose and outcomes in neighbourhood governance are located in the differences between the values and practices of ‘big’ versus ‘small’ local governments and the tensions which arise when attempts are made to combine them. The chapter uses research evidence from an ESRC study of public participation to illustrate how the coexistence of these different interpretations generates conflict over the design and implementation of neighbourhood governance initiatives and creates opportunities for local citizens to subvert formal policy goals via strategies of reshaping, disruption, and sabotage.

Keywords:   institutionalised governance, neighbourhood governance, multilevel governance, public participation, ESRC

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