From post-politics to a politics of possibility? Unravelling the privatization of the Berlin Water Company

Beveridge, R. , Hüesker, F. and Naumann, M. (2014) From post-politics to a politics of possibility? Unravelling the privatization of the Berlin Water Company. Geoforum, 51, pp. 66-74. (doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.09.021)

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This article explores the constraints and contingencies of contemporary urban governance, with reference to the partial privatization (1999) and partial remunicipalization (2012) of the Berlin Water Company (BWB). It outlines the processes through which this major shift in Berlin politics occurred, showing how the mainstream consensus on privatization was disrupted and alternatives to apparent neoliberal conformity emerged. Dynamics apparent in the BWB case – commercialization, privatization, re-regulation, public contestation and remunicipalization – are indicative of the challenges and opportunities of making policy in and beyond the global norms of neoliberalism. It is argued that this case is important because it reveals something about what we might call the “politics of possibility” within the paradigm of neoliberal urban governance: the continuing potential for change within the constraints of an urban governance configured to the logics and needs of markets. Given this, the paper concludes that local contingencies in urban governance problematize sweeping notions of a post-political condition. However observable post-political strategies and outcomes in Berlin and elsewhere are, researchers should not assume that they are inevitably dominant or universal.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Beveridge, Dr Ross
Authors: Beveridge, R., Hüesker, F., and Naumann, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Geoforum
ISSN (Online):1872-9398

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