Critical Enquiry at the Intersection of Politics, Policy and Society
Edited by Emma Carmel
Chapter 9: Participatory governing at the margins of the state
This chapter describes a study of participatory governing in urban regeneration which investigated the dynamic interplay between actors, processes and structures of governing. Participatory regeneration programmes create opportunities for residents to participate in decision-making and improve their well-being through influencing local policy decisions about the allocation of public resources. Yet the governance, participation and community empowerment literatures have noted the dominance of the state in new governance structures such as regeneration partnerships. However, I found that even though resident participation was constrained by governing structures, the strategic agency of residents also influenced local governing processes and created new structures by developing effective informal networks on the periphery of governing. Resident agency was also strategic in that it sought to maximise the material outcomes while minimising the costs of participation. This application of governance analysis demonstrates the value of exploring processes and outcomes together with governance structures, and the importance of strategic agency in governing processes.
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