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

Nicholds, Alyson (2012). Building capacity for regeneration: making sense of ambiguity in urban policy outcomes. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


Download (2MB)


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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Institute of Local Government Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year