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Building capacity for regeneration: making sense of ambiguity in urban policy outcomes

Nicholds, Alyson (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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UK regeneration exists amid a ‘burgeoning’ literature which states the ongoing desire to improve the outcomes of urban policy. However, concern about the symbolic nature of regeneration policy and its re-production in the form of ‘linguistic debates’, can latterly be witnessed in the context of more ‘discursive’ concerns rooted in shifting patterns of governance. Drawing empirically from research with fifty UK regeneration professionals and Laclau & Mouffe’s (2001) theory of socialist hegemony to explore reasons for the persistence of such ambiguity, three rival discourses emerge in the form of ‘Building City Regions’; ‘Narrowing the Gap’; and ‘Building Community Capacity’. What a critical analysis suggests is that by ‘deconstructing’ rather than ‘deciphering’ the goals of regeneration policy, a temporary ‘discursive’ form of regeneration emerges in which the contradictions and tensions within the discourse are represented in the form of ‘nodal points and floating signifiers’ and articulated through the notion of lack. This can be linked to the bureaucratic struggles which emerge as a result of a ‘new right’ hegemony, which commodifies all aspects of work and social life to bring market-informed ways of seeing and doing to every aspect of regeneration practice. Actors seek to manage such complexity through emotional investment.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Freeman, Tim and Bovaird, Anthony
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Institute of Local Government Studies, School of Government and Society
Subjects:HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JN101 Great Britain
JS Local government Municipal government
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3495
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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