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FRONT-LINE WORKERS AND ‘LOCAL KNOWLEDGE’: NEIGHBOURHOOD STORIES IN CONTEMPORARY UK LOCAL GOVERNANCE

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Abstract:

One of the aims of this special issue is to ‘decentre’ a key facet of governance, namely networks. This article considers in particular the concept ‘networked community governance’, a key part of New Labour‘s reforms in local governance and, in particular, around neighbourhood-based working. This article draws on interpretive methods and analysis to explore the everyday work of front-line workers in contemporary local governance through their own stories. The article is based on empirical work in the neighbourhood management system developed in Salford, a local authority in the North West of England. Key to facilitating ‘networked community governance’, is front-line workers’ own ‘local knowledge’, understood as the mundane, yet expert, understanding front-line workers develop from their own contextual experiences. The article explores the difficulties that front-line workers perceive themselves to face in their everyday work and how they use their ‘local knowledge’ to develop responsive, entrepreneurial strategies.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9299.2008.01737.x

Affiliations: Catherine Durose is RCUK Research Fellow in the Local Governance Research Unit (LGRU), Faculty of Business and Law, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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