This chapter is concerned with the links between the new new localism, devolution, and the depoliticisation of local and regional economic development. This chapter suggests that ‘post-political’ approaches downplay or ignore forms of crisis management, governance failure and state failure, and the way state policies and institutions are sites themselves of political mobilisation and conflict. It contends that the state should continue to be seen as a productive arena for performing politics and offers a grounded focus on politics and struggles of economic development in city regions. The chapter traces the localisation of welfare and the new geographies of austerity, alongside the evolving and more media-friendly devolution of skills and other employment initiatives. Returning to the Sheffield city region and the strategic shifts in governance and politics embraced by devolution, it explores the politics of welfare reform and employment policy: undertaking this analysis against a backdrop and context of social inequalities and austerity policies, identifying and analysing emerging social struggles and their conflicts.
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