Active citizenship and local governance: political and geographical dimensions

Kearns, A. (1995) Active citizenship and local governance: political and geographical dimensions. Political Geography, 14(2), pp. 155-175. (doi: 10.1016/0962-6298(95)91662-N)

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This paper discusses the possibility of a participatory form of democracy emerging in the UK out of the confluence of ‘active citizenship’ and ‘local governance’ and through reform of the state and civil society. A consideration of the type of ‘active citizenship’ strategy being pursued, an examination of the institutional and constitutional nature of ‘local governance’, and a review of patterns of participation in voluntary sector governance all serve to raise doubts about the potential outcome. It is important to recognize that both the citizen's inclination to participate or ‘get active’ in local governance, and the institutional structures and arrangements of local governance, have crucial geographical dimensions. The nature of places affects the citizen's capacity for governance and yet, although local governance exacerbates territorial fragmentation, disjuncture and conflict, the improvement of places can be a beneficial outcome of local governance. A study of the role of place as both mediator and outcome of active citizenship and local governance is relevant as an empirical question relating to the impacts of modernism and Thatcherism, but also affords opportunities to consider the causes and significance of ‘place-uniqueness’, and to evaluate their consequences for postmodernist epistemologies which eschew the notion of generalized theories of place.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kearns, Professor Ade
Authors: Kearns, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Political Geography
ISSN (Online):1873-5096

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