Localism as restorative politics; social capital and anti-politics in the London Borough of Burgundia

Pycock, G. 2016. Localism as restorative politics; social capital and anti-politics in the London Borough of Burgundia. Political Studies Association Conference. Brighton, Sussex 23 Mar 2016

TitleLocalism as restorative politics; social capital and anti-politics in the London Borough of Burgundia
AuthorsPycock, G.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this paper is to explore the political implications of policies and measures designed to promote “localism”. That is to say, the devolution of power down to a neighbourhood level, as enacted under the 2011 Localism Act. The implementation of localism in London boroughs will be examined. The context is the current concern over disengagement in an era of “anti-politics”, so it is intended to gain an understanding of how localism is interpreted and implemented on the ground. A tentative thesis, of a “restorative politics”, is proposed, such that localism is dynamic and is generating healthy political activity which counters anti-politics in the local community. This could have profound implications for the political parties locally and at Westminster. The extant theories about localism include constructivist interpretations suggesting that a neo-liberal localism is anti-political. This is contested. An emerging narrative heralding a new dawn of empowerment, and related themes concerning social capital, subsidiarity and anti-politics are reviewed. A necessarily empirical approach is adopted in an essentially functionalist frame of reference. There is a review of both academic and policy literature, combined with interviews of professionals involved in localism. This paper is designed to scope a future more substantial piece of research. The conference brief asks; “what scales or levels are appropriate for organising politics in this century”. In a century so far characterised by disillusionment, democratic deficits and abstention, the answer may be; local. The Good Life is lived locally in shared experience and familiar surroundings, hitherto not much amenable to local change. Burgundia is a reference to the film “Passport to Pimlico” (1949), when ABSTRACT
The purpose of this paper is to explore the political implications of policies and measures designed to promote “localism”. That is to say, the devolution of power down to a neighbourhood level, as enacted under the 2011 Localism Act. The implementation of localism in London boroughs will be examined. The context is the current concern over disengagement in an era of “anti-politics”, so it is intended to gain an understanding of how localism is interpreted and implemented on the ground. A tentative thesis, of a “restorative politics”, is proposed, such that localism is dynamic and is generating healthy political activity which counters anti-politics in the local community. This could have profound implications for the political parties locally and at Westminster. The extant theories about localism include constructivist interpretations suggesting that a neo-liberal localism is anti-political. This is contested. An emerging narrative heralding a new dawn of empowerment, and related themes concerning social capital, subsidiarity and anti-politics are reviewed. A necessarily empirical approach is adopted in an essentially functionalist frame of reference. There is a review of both academic and policy literature, combined with interviews of professionals involved in localism. This paper is designed to scope a future more substantial piece of research. The conference brief asks; “what scales or levels are appropriate for organising politics in this century”. In a century so far characterised by disillusionment, democratic deficits and abstention, the answer may be; local. The Good Life is lived locally in shared experience and familiar surroundings, hitherto not much amenable to local change. Burgundia is a reference to the film “Passport to Pimlico” (1949), when a London neighbourhood declared independence and its citizens temporarily created the Good Life for themselves. Is the 21st century localism generating a restorative politics?

Year2016
ConferencePolitical Studies Association Conference
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttps://www.psa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/conference/papers/2016/Localism%20%26%20restorative%20politics_2.pdf

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Localism at the neighbourhood level: London borough governance and situated anti-politics
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Anti-politics in context: the politics of localism in London
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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9w205/localism-as-restorative-politics-social-capital-and-anti-politics-in-the-london-borough-of-burgundia


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