Politics, governance and the shaping of Smethwick since 1945

Carey, Adam (2016). Politics, governance and the shaping of Smethwick since 1945. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

PDF - Redacted Version

Download (32MB)


A historical study of Smethwick, an inner-industrial area in the West Midlands affected by extreme structural change, with postwar housing redevelopment and local government reorganisation additional legacies. It uses interviews with past and present policymakers, managers, local stakeholders; and the author’s ‘participant observer’ background, as past councillor, officer and consultant. Historical GIS mapping and grey literature identify past investment programmes, changing conditions and outcomes in Smethwick and equivalent places, like Salford. Managing decline preoccupied the wider Sandwell local authority after 1974, itself targeted with area-based initiatives until the end of explicit national urban policy in 2010. External shocks, critical junctures including national intervention; and local socio-cultural, political-institutional circumstances created local path dependencies. A paternalistic culture, reactive crisis management, spatial incoherence and community-partnership mistrust was exhibited. Local government bears significant responsibility for the severity and prolongation of neighbourhood collapse in Smethwick. Regulatory, landlord and landholding roles, wider relationships and long-term ‘ways of thinking’ emerge as critical to overall stewardship of place. For local authorities facing rapid and complex change, depleted by ‘austerity-localism’, community partnership is critical to leadership. Smethwick, hitherto recognised for past industrial prowess and the political exploitation of race, offers also policy lessons for how governance matters to place.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6890


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year