The urban governance of austerity in Europe

Authored by: Adrian Bua , Jonathan Davies , Ismael Blanco , Ioannis Chorianopoulos , Mercè Cortina-Oriol , Andrés Feandeiro , Niamh Gaynor , Steven Griggs , David Howarth , Yuni Salazar

The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138234727
eBook ISBN: 9781315306278
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315306278-19

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Abstract

The 2008 financial crash and ensuing austerity have brought critical perspectives on political economy into academic debates in democratic theory and public administration. One important area of contention regards ‘collaborative’ and ‘network’ forms of governance. Advocates argue that these comprise an epochal shift that resolves many pitfalls of state and market oriented governance, a consensus that was especially popular during the 1990s and early 2000s. This chapter reports research carried out in five cities in Europe (Athens, Barcelona, Dublin, Leicester, Nantes) exploring the impact of austerity politics on the ideology and practice of collaborative governance – would it endure, or be unravelled by, post-crash exposure to austerity and distributional conflict? The chapter concludes that severe austerity erodes the foundations for strong collaborative governance. The inability to survive the return of distributional conflict leads us to conclude that collaborative governance is fully functional only in times of growth.

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