Local Agency for the Public Purpose? Dissecting and evaluating the emerging discourses of municipal entrepreneurship in the UK

Abstract

This article explores the contested politics and interpretations of the new practices of municipal entrepreneurship across local government in the UK. Drawing on empirical evidence from six cases studies of entrepreneurship in local councils, self-characterisations of income-generating projects in thirty authorities, and a series of semi-structured interviews, we identify, name and characterise an emergent discourse of municipal entrepreneurship for the public purpose. We argue that this novel strand of discourse within the wider field of urban entrepreneurialism confers a degree of political agency to local authorities under austerity, while redescribing and attaching commercialism and entrepreneurship to the public good. In so doing, we challenge overly reductionist accounts of local state agency under austerity, and articulate and evaluate the potentials and obstacles for a progressive interventionism in this discursive space.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Keywords

Municipalism, Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation, Local Government, Agency, Austerity, Discourse

Citation

Barnett, N., Griggs, S., Hall, S. and Howarth, D. (2021) Local Agency for the Public Purpose? Dissecting and evaluating the emerging discourses of municipal entrepreneurship in the UK. Local Government Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03003930.2021.1988935.

Rights

Research Institute

Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC)