Ideology or Realism in Local Governance: A Case of RealLokalPolitik in English Local Government
The paper reports the results of research conducted among councillors in England which explored how they operate in complex governing networks where they interact with a range of public and private bodies. Councillors, as elected representatives, cannot control such networks or the members of them. Rather, councillors are faced with devising strategies to exert influence over and to try to shape and direct the policy decisions taken by the individual players within governance networks and to draw a myriad of decisions into an overall direction and coherence. In doing that councillors can either act ideologically, from a key set of political principles and goals; or they can act pragmatically based on an assessment of what it is possible to achieve. The paper reports the results of research among councillors in England which explored the approaches they developed to engaging in governance networks and assesses whether or not they act ideologically or pragmatically and the effectiveness of such choices. It introduces the concept of RealLokalPolitik to explain the tension and choice for councillors between these two approaches to governance interactions. The paper also explores how the need to operate in governance networks re-shapes our understanding of councillors as trustees, delegates or party loyalists.
Citation : Copus, C. (2015) Ideology or Realism in Local Governance: A Case of RealLokalPolitik in English Local Government. Croatian and Comparative Public Administration, 15 (2), pp. 335-355
ISSN : 1848-0357
Research Group : Local Governance Research Unit
Research Institute : Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC)
Peer Reviewed : Yes