Excavating the Logic of British Urban Policy: Neoliberalism as the “Crisis of Crisis–Management”

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Abstract:

This paper suggests that crisis theories provide a framework for analyzing the urban spaces of neoliberalism. Drawing on crisis–theoretic approaches to state theory, we examine the path–dependent links between neoliberalism, urban policy, and Britain’s cyclical and crisis–prone cities through three tendencies: the geographies of state regulation, the institutionalization of interurban competition, and rescaling as the “crisis of crisis–management.” These are used to explore the argument that Britain’s cities are hosts to ineffectual regulatory strategies because urban policy appears to be a response to the sociopolitical and geographical contradictions of previous rounds of urban policy, and not the underpinning contradictions of accumulation.

Whether state power is able to manage and reproduce the highly oppressive, irrational, and self–contradictory capitalist system is of course an open question. (Offe 1984:257)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8330.00251

Affiliations: 1: University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK msj@aber.ac.uk 2: University of Manchester, UK k.g.ward@man.ac.uk

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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