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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.

Subjectivity and identity
Nadia Kiwan

belonging’. Touraine argues that the Subject is distinct from the individual because the Subject manages to combine both individual and community identity: ‘The subject is individual and community; . . . He/she escapes the community through instrumental reason and the market [rational forces] through both collective and personal identity’ (Touraine 1995: 32). Closely linked to Touraine’s ideas about the Subject and subjectivation is the notion of social movements. Social movements are concerned with the relations of production and hence the workers’ movement can be

in Identities, discourses and experiences
Debates and evidence
Hugh Atkinson

following eight themes: the state of formal politics, public attitudes to politics, broader forms of civic engagement, involvement in political campaigning and pressure groups, volunteering and the role of charities, community identity and a sense of place, civic engagement and young people and finally the emerging world of the internet/world wide web. What emerges is far less a crisis of political participation and civic engagement and more a colourful kaleidoscope of individual and collective community activity. The state of formal politics If we are looking to sustain

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
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Nadia Kiwan

political and academic discourses surrounding post-migrant populations in France in Chapters 1 and 2 of this book, Chapters 4–7 discuss the themes and various narrative ‘clusters’ arising out of the interviewees’ stories. Chapter 4 focuses on the question of individual identity and how this can be defined both in theory and in practice. Chapter 5 and 6 focus on both collective and community identity and how this can be understood in relation to both cultural and socio-economic experience. Chapter 7 synthesises some of the data which is discussed in Chapters 4–6 and

in Identities, discourses and experiences
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Windows onto intimate London habitats and homemaking across cultures
Saskia Huc-Hepher

emergence of a community identity, underscored by the film’s parodic caricaturing of community characteristics. The bathroom products and makeshift wine-crate shelving observed in Bruno’s habitat and other homes visited during my fieldwork also feature in this frame. Bruno’s objectified habitat is thus recalibrated within a broader, culturally defined interpersonal context that weaves an imperceptible web among disparate ‘members’ of the London-French community, thus reinforcing their expression of national identity (Tolia-Kelly, 2003). Supporting this argument are the

in French London
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A blended ethnography of a migrant city

Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, French London provides rare insights into the everyday lived experience of a diverse group of French citizens who have chosen to make London home. From sixth-form students to an octogenarian divorcee, hospitality to hospital staff, and second-generation onward migrants to returnees, the individual trajectories described are disparate but connected by a ‘common-unity’ of practice. Despite most not self-identifying with a ‘community’ identity, this heterogenous migrant group are shown to share many homemaking characteristics and to enact their belonging in common ways. Whether through the contents of their kitchens, their reasons for migrating to London or their evolving attitudes to education and healthcare, participants are seen to embody a distinct form of London-Frenchness. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of ‘symbolic violence’ and ‘habitus’, inventively deconstructed into its component parts of habitat, habituation and habits, the book reveals how structural forces in France and early encounters with ‘otherness’ underpin mobility, and how long-term settlement is performed as a pre-reflexive process. It deploys an original blended ethnographic lens to understand the intersection between the on-land and online in contemporary mobility, providing a rich description of migrants’ material and digital habitats. With ‘Brexit’ on the horizon and participants subsequently revisited in a post-referendum Epilogue, the monograph demonstrates the appeal of London prior to 2016 and the disruption to the migrants’ identity and belonging since. It offers an unprecedented window onto the intimate lifeworlds of an under-researched diaspora at a crucial point in Britain’s history.

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Peter Davies and Robert Light

Chapter 2 investigates the way in which the early cricket clubs were formed. It will relate the development of cricket clubs to the social, economic and cultural changes that took place during the last four decades of the nineteenth century. We will evaluate the key social, economic and spatial resources necessary to form cricket clubs and the pattern of social exclusivity that marked early organisations. Here, three important themes are: broadening access to leisure opportunities during the 1860s and the impact of this upon cricket; new socially inclusive cricket clubs and the role of other secular and non-secular institutions in their formation; and community identity, cricket clubs and social and economic change at the end of the nineteenth century. In the same period, cup and league competitions were being instituted for the first time.

in Cricket and community in England
Simon Mabon

In recent years, cities have become key sites of political interactions. World Bank data suggests that 65% of the region’s population live in cities, although in the Gulf, this figure is much larger. As a consequence, regulating life in cities has become increasingly important. Legislation designed to regulate life finds most traction within urban areas, where jobs and welfare projects – not always under the auspices of the state – offer a degree of protection. Beyond this, the aesthetics of a city can be used to develop a national identity, which also brings about exclusion. Decisions over infrastructural and development projects are taken for political reasons, driven by domestic and regional concerns, but impacting on the lives of citizens and non-citizens within states and across space. Within the urban environment, identities, groups and networks interact and collide, simultaneously reinforcing and challenging communities, identities and the state itself. Amidst an array of tribal, ethnic, religious, political and ideological loyalties, regulating life within the city is of paramount importance for regime survival. As such, the city is the arena through which networks of patronage – family, tribal, religious or bureaucratic – can be mobilised to retain power.

in Houses built on sand
David Graizbord

The conversion of Jews to Christianity in late medieval and early modern times was often accompanied by acrimony, and in several cases by violence. Less acrimonious conversions of Jews from the same periods have tended to escape scholarly attention because of their relatively quotidian and private nature, and because the converts in such cases have often been women, and thus were not expected to assume significant public roles as Christians, let alone to lead campaigns against Judaism. This chapter explores one such ‘quiet’ conversion, that of Carlota Liot, a Jewish woman and a merchant from Hesse-Kassel who resided in Consuegra (in Castile-La Mancha) and was baptized in Toledo in 1791 after voluntarily submitting to inquisitorial scrutiny. By comparing her case with those of other Jewish transients, the chapter assesses the degree to which gender shaped the manner and substance of these Jews’ socio-religious transformation in Spain, and shed a fuller light on the history of Jews’ Christianization. This chapter traces Liot's journeys and relocations in detail, to understand the connections between acts of border-crossing and settlement, and the performance of gender as a passport to social and community identity.

in Conversions
Roads, colonization and environmental transformation in the Anglo-Scottish border zone, c. 1100 to c. 1300
Richard Oram

Historical perceptions of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands are dominated by visions of a war-ravaged, ungovernable, economically stunted and culturally retarded zone. This bleak image, reinforced by modern metropolitanism, permeates much discussion of the pre-1300 era but examination of the internal dynamics of the Humber-Forth region reveals a complex road network that served as channels through which flows of people and ideas shaped and reconfigured community identities. Roads were powerful media for cultural change and political reconstruction, forming conduits for colonisation and facilitators of new systems of political domination and dependence. They brought a realignment of settlement patterns and eased into creation sharply defined hierarchies of economic exploitation. This paper explores how the inherited Roman and Anglo-Saxon road networks moulded new political structures in the 12th century, and how the old networks were realigned or superseded to serve a new political prescription. It traces how ‘marchland’ outside established lordship structures was opened up by roads to intensive exploitation regimes by peasant and aristocratic colonists and monastic pioneers, and how they delivered the environmental transformation of the Pennine-Southern Upland hinterland.

in Roadworks