The post-political privatisation of the welfare state and the barriers to localist planning

Start date: 
Wed, 16/11/2011
Closing date: 
Wed, 16/11/2011
Room 9206, Cantor Building, City Campus
Event contact: 
Dr Tony Gore and Ryan Powell

Mike Raco - University College London

This paper adds to the burgeoning literature on post-political cities, privatisation, and urban political conflict. It begins by examining debates over post-political urban governance and develops a typology of the conflict management strategies used by state agencies. It then turns to the example of healthcare in South East London to explore the impacts of recent private finance initiatives on the delivery and governance of welfare services. It explores, empirically, the dynamics of these conflict-management practices and their outcomes. The paper contends that the principles of accountability and democracy that underpinned the post-war settlement in countries such as the UK are being systematically eroded at the same time as governments have consistently promised greater decentralisation and local control. It argues that new forms of dissonance are being created between political processes, the institutional structures of welfare delivery, and urban publics.

Mike Raco is professor of urban governance and development in the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. He has published widely on the topics of urban governance, regeneration, sustainability, and the politics of urban economic development. Recent books include 'Building Sustainable Communities: Spatial Policy and Labour Mobility in Post-war Britain' (Policy Press, Bristol), 'Regenerating London: Governance, Sustainability and Community in a Global City' (with Rob Imrie and Loretta Lees, Routledge, London) and 'The Future of Sustainable Cities: Critical Reflections' (with John Flint, Policy Press, Bristol). Much of his research is UK focused but he has also written extensively on the politics of urban regeneration in the EU and East Asia. Recent projects have examined post-recession planning in London, Hong Kong, and Taipei, the rise of aspirational citizenship in urban policy discourses in the UK, and the impacts of privatisation and PFI contracts on the Coalition's Open Source Planning reforms.

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