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Urban Governance Under Neoliberalism: New Labour and the Restructuring of State-Space

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In the UK there has been a proliferation of agencies at differing regulatory scales as part of the rescaling and restructuring of the state by New Labour, following the neoliberal policies of previous Conservative governments. This raises questions concerning the extent to which New Labour's urban state restructuring is embedded within neoliberalism, and the local tensions and contradictions arising from emergent New Labour urban state restructuring. This paper examines these questions through the analysis of key policy features of New Labour, and the in-depth exploration of two programmes that are reshaping urban governance arrangements, namely Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and New Deal for Communities (NDC) programmes. We conclude that New Labour's restructuring is best understood in terms of the extended reproduction (roll-out) of neoliberalism. While these “new institutional fixes” are only weakly established and exhibit internal contradictions and tensions, these have not led to a broader contestation of neoliberalism.

Keywords: New Labour; neoliberalism; urban governance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Local Government Centre, Institute of Governance and Public Management, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; ,, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2008


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