People, Place and Policy 2019: Social and Spatial Inequalities

Start date: 
Wed, 03/07/2019
Closing date: 
Wed, 03/07/2019
Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield
Event contact: 
Emma Smith (

A One Day Conference

Date: 3rd July 2019

Venue: Sheffield Hallam University

Organised by: People, Place and Policy Journal

Register here

Conference theme: Autonomy

Autonomy is central to the production, reproduction and reduction of social and spatial inequalities. More specifically, who is able to – or compelled to – act and decide ‘for themselves’ and who is not is critical to understanding inequality. The question of autonomy is also at the heart of contemporary challenges faced by people, places and policy-makers. The word seeps across disparate debates from the individualising focus of many public policy interventions, to the future of work and transport, the governance of cities, and of course in the rhetoric used in debates about the UK’s relationship with the European Union. Autonomy is associated with discourses of freedom, for instance in desire for devolved resources to cities and regions, or for community self-governance; but also of control (‘it is your responsibility to find work’; ‘autonomous robots will take your jobs’).

For the fifth PPP Social and Spatial Inequalities Conference we therefore invite contributions that interrogate our understanding of autonomy and its interaction with social and spatial inequalities. Theoretical and empirical papers are welcome across a range of themes including but not limited to the following:

  • Autonomy, democracy, self-governance and inequality.
  • Autonomous (city-)regions and inequality.
  • Extent and impact of individualisation / responsibilisation discourses in public policy interventions.
  • Grassroots action for self-sufficiency / resource autonomy and their implications for inequalities.
  • Autonomy as a geopolitical agenda (e.g. ‘Brexit’ and isolationist foreign policy) and its implications for urban and regional inequalities.
  • Infrastructure autonomy and connectivity.
  • Automation and its impacts on work and employment.
  • Transport and automation, and the implications for inequality.
  • Autonomy, responsibility and entitlement to welfare provision (e.g. to housing, benefits, healthcare and so on)
  • Individual ‘resilience’, coping and poverty.
  • Youth transitions: autonomy in the present and imagined futures.
  • The role of the state and/or voluntary sector in promoting autonomy for individuals and communities.
  • The autonomy and independence of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises in local and national policy fields.

For further information and to book your place please see the PPP website 

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