Urban Power and Political Agency: Reflections on a Study of Local Economic Development in Johannesburg and Leeds

Date

2014

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Elsevier

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

“Does politics matter” is an enduring question in urban studies. This paper contributes to the debate by exploring the agency of city leaders in local economic development policy in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Leeds (UK). In place of the conventional (though valid) focus on structural constraint under neoliberalism, we show how decisions by leaders ostensibly committed to social inclusion contributed to outcomes aggravating social exclusion. Whatever structural constraints pertain, the failures of local economic development must be attributed, in part, to decisions made and actions taken in response to acknowledged policy dilemmas. An agency-centred perspective poses important questions about the potential for city government to pursue progressive and inclusionary policies.

Description

Keywords

urban, power, agency, Johannesburg, Leeds

Citation

Davies, J. S. and Msengana-Ndlela, L. (2014) Urban Power and Political Agency: Reflections on a Study of Local Economic Development in Johannesburg and Leeds. Cities: The International Journal of Urban Politics and Planning. 44, pp. 131-138

Rights

Research Institute

Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC)
Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA)