McKee K (2015) Community anchor housing associations: illuminating the contested nature of neoliberal governing practices at the local scale. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 33 (5), pp. 1076-1091. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263774x15605941
In a period of fiscal austerity, the mobilization of the voluntary and community sector has been pivotal to neoliberal public policy reforms. This is reflected in the emergence of a ‘new localism’, which seeks to encourage place-based communities to take responsibility for their own welfare through the ownership and management of community assets. In the UK these political narratives are encapsulated in the Prime Minister's Big Society agenda, which has been influential in the housing field and has underpinned an emergent policy discourse constructing housing associations as community anchor organizations. Drawing on the case study of the community-controlled housing association sector in Scotland, this paper illuminates the centrality of localism to contemporary technologies of neoliberal governance. Through an analytical focus on the agency of front-line housing professionals, it also adds to debates on ‘ethnographies of government’, which emphasize the situated messiness of projects of rule and the struggles around subjectivity.
empowerment; Big Society; governmentality; localism; voluntary sector; welfare reform;
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy: Volume 33, Issue 5