Lever, J. (2011) ‘Urban regeneration partnerships: a figurational critique of governmentality theory’, in Sociology 45 (1)
Abstract: This article provides a critique of governmentally inspired accounts of urban regeneration and partnership working. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias and prominent figurational sociologists, it discusses the changes taking place within andthrough the many partnerships set up by New Labour around the notion of ‘community safety’. Although recognizing the important insights provided by accounts of urban regeneration emerging through studies of governmentality, the article argues that such accounts fail to adequately consider the impact of partnership working on the individuals, communities and organizations involved. While urban regeneration partnerships have the potential to be the motor of the civilizing process in the manner identified by figurational sociologists, the article concludes that they are not currently living up to this civilizing potential.
Key Words: Civilizing process; community safety; Elias; Foucault; governmentally; partnership working; urban regeneration.