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From New Labour to the Big Society
Author: Hugh Atkinson

There is a widespread view that local democracy in Britain is in deep trouble and that people face a crisis of civic engagement and political participation. This book counterweighs the many negative accounts that seek to dominate the political discourse with talks on political apathy and selfish individualism. It commences with an examination of theoretical debates as to the meaning of local democracy and related concepts. The book looks at the policy agenda around local democracy in the context of the developing nature of central/local relations since 1979. It considers the available evidence on level of political participation and civic engagement by looking at eight themes. These include the state of formal politics, forms of civic engagement, community identity and the emerging world of the internet/world wide web. The book also looks at nine key aspects of the reform of local democracy over the last fifteen years, including local democracy and the New Labour reform agenda; the constitutional position of local government; and double devolution. It focuses on the so-called 'crisis of formal democracy' at the local level. The book ascertains the recent developments beyond the realm of elections, political parties and formal political institutions. It then concentrates on local services and policy attempts to widen public participation in the shaping and delivery of such services. Finally, the book discusses the concept of sustainability and regeneration strategies to build sustainable communities, both physical and social.

Reading the politics within popular culture
John Street, Sanna Inthorn, and Martin Scott

Points of engagement: politics within popular culture 5 Points of engagement: reading the politics within popular culture Most of the rest of this book is about what young people say in their conversations about popular culture. It is their talk that is key to our research into the links between politics and the pleasures of entertainment television, music and video games. But before we turn to these conversations, we need to devote some attention to what it is they are talking about: the shows, the songs, the games. Whilst what our respondents themselves

in From entertainment to citizenship
Open Access (free)
Reframing “sensing” and data generation in citizen science for empowering relationships
João Porto de Albuquerque and André Albino de Almeida

12 Modes of engagement: Reframing “sensing” and data generation in citizen science for empowering relationships João Porto de Albuquerque and André Albino de Almeida Introduction The dissemination of digital technologies has provoked a renewed interest in initiatives that seek to involve citizens and communities in the generation of data and in “citizen science.” The aim of these initiatives is often to widen participation by including citizens in processes hitherto not very accessible to them, such as the collaborative mapping of human settlements (de

in Toxic truths
Chris McInerney

4 Civic engagement and social justice Introduction Public policy in a variety of countries, Ireland included, has recognised the value of some level of deeper citizen participation in democratic and civic life. At the same time, civil society organisations have increasingly asserted the importance of their participation in policy-­making processes. It was in this context that the Irish government clearly stated that ‘There is a need to create a more participatory democracy where active citizenship is fostered’ defining participation ‘as an exchange between

in Challenging times, challenging administration
Debates and evidence
Hugh Atkinson

2 Civic engagement and political participation: debates and evidence Introduction There is a widespread view that democracy at the local level in Britain is in crisis with levels of political participation at an all-time low. Indeed, there is an increasing ‘anti-politics’ narrative that posits a public alienated from the political class. The public uproar in 2009 over the ‘excessive’ allowances claimed by some members of parliament (MPs) has fed into this. However, the central argument of this chapter, and indeed of the book itself, is that a deeper and more

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Rob Manwaring

7 Engagement at the regional level The fallacy of expertise bedevils public policy. Mark Bevir, 2010 ‘Strategic Labor government’ at the regional level National-level Labour governments in both Britain and Australia are amongst a number of centre-left governments rediscovering an interest in democratic renewal. As we saw in the previous chapter, both parties remain formally committed to this agenda of democratic innovation, and their own consultative experiments, despite a number of significant flaws, reveal an appetite for engagement and renewal. The search

in The search for democratic renewal
Hugh Atkinson

6 Local services, community and civic engagement Introduction In Chapter 6 the focus is on local services and their impact on strengthening civic engagement and local communities. First, there will be a focus on central government policy. There will be an analysis of some initiatives of the last Labour government as well as an initial assessment of the emerging policy agenda of the current Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition. Local public service reform will also be looked at in the context of the role of markets and the increasing emphasis on the choice

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
An interview with Liz O’Donnell
Graham Spencer

constitutional change and then give back nothing. And if you had to use other points to support that, what did they tend to be? The other points would be that we respect that people are nervous about North–South engagement but you have to look at things in the totality and the other things that are on the table, like the principle of consent, the jurisdiction and the

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An agenda for change?
Hugh Atkinson

3 The challenge of local democracy, civic engagement and community: an agenda for change? Introduction In the early period of the newly elected Labour government after 1997 the apparent conciliatory tone towards local government was in sharp contrast to the conflicted nature of central/local relations during the Thatcher and Major years. Tighter financial restrictions, rate capping, cuts in central government financial support, increased privatisation of local authority services and loss of policy autonomy all gave the clear impression of a beleaguered local

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Lamine Kane, Aliou Guissé, and Latyr Diouf

9 Student community engagement for employability and entrepreneurship in Senegal Lamine Kane, Aliou Guissé and Latyr Diouf History After connecting online, Lamine Kane of the sub-Saharan Africa Participatory Action Research Network (REPAS) and Juliet Millican from the University of Brighton used a travel grant from the British Council to meet for exploratory discussions in Dakar with members of REPAS, the Department of Applied Economics (ENEA) at Cheikh Diop University (UCAD), and nearby local communities. These discussions led to the joint preparation of a

in Knowledge, democracy and action