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‘Worlds of justification’ in the politics and practices of urban regeneration

Fuller, Crispian 2012. ‘Worlds of justification’ in the politics and practices of urban regeneration. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30 (5) , pp. 913-929. 10.1068/d19710

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A considerable body of research has developed on processes of neoliberal urban regeneration and gentrification. On the one hand, there are many political economy accounts emphasising the role of economic capital in processes of urban change and gentrification. On the other hand, there is a wealth of governmentality studies on the art of government that fail to explain how ungovernable subjects develop. Similarly, within gentrification studies there are many accounts on the role of changing consumer lifestyles and defining gentrification, but less concern with the governance processes between actors in urban regeneration and gentrification. Yet such issues are of considerable importance given the role of the state in urban regeneration and dependence on private capital. This paper utilises the French Pragmatist approach of Boltanski and Thévenot to examine a case study state-led gentrification project. Boltanski and Thévenot argue that social coordination occurs by way of actors working through broader value-laden ‘worlds of justification’ that underpin processes of argumentation and coordination. The examined case study is a deprived area within an English city where a major state-led gentrification programme has been introduced. The rationale for the programme is based on the assumption that reducing deprivation relies upon substantially increasing the number of higher income earners. The paper concludes that market values have overridden broader civic values in the negotiation process, with this intensifying as the state internalised market crisis tendencies within the project. More broadly, there is a need for French Pragmatism to be more sensitive to the spatial processes of social coordination, which can be achieved through critical engagement with recent concepts of ‘assemblages’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Pion
ISSN: 0263-7758
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:05

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