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Governance and Governmentality in Community Participation: The Shifting Sands of Power, Responsibility and Risk

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2017

Steve Rolfe*
Affiliation:
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling E-mail: steve.rolfe1@stir.ac.uk

Abstract

Community participation has become an essential element of government policy around the globe in recent decades. This move towards ‘government through community’ has been presented as an opportunity for citizens to gain power and as a necessary part of the shift from government to governance, enabling states and communities to tackle complex problems in tandem. However, it has also been critiqued as an attempt to shift responsibility from the state onto communities. Using evidence from detailed case studies, this article examines the implementation of Localism in England and Community Empowerment in Scotland. The findings suggest a need for a more nuanced analysis of community participation policy, incorporating risk alongside responsibility and power, as well as considering the agency of communities and the local state. Furthermore, understanding the constraints on community participation is key, particularly in terms of the enveloping impacts of austerity and state retrenchment.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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