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Jamie Gough on "Chameleon Localism"

Wed 17 May 2017, 3.30–5pm, The Council Chamber, Firth Court, Western Bank S10 2TN

A public lecture to mark Jamie Gough's retirement from the Urban Studies and Planning Department of Sheffield University; 'Chameleon Localism: the varied and difficult politics behind the buzz-word'. Localism has come to be regarded as 'common sense', with a striking consensus from right to left of politics. But behind the apparent consensus, very different political-economic strategies are deployed in localism. In many countries in the last twenty years or so, 'localism' has been put forward as key way to address a variety of economic, political, social and environmental problems. Government is devolved from national to regional, local and neighbourhood levels; workplace, industrial and economic governance are decentralised; local economic networks and locally-based enterprises are promoted; social reproduction is achieved through innovative, locally-varied organisations; locally-specific cultures are renewed and used. The promise is decision-making at the lowest possible scale, use of local knowledge, community involvement, and thus empowerment of ordinary people. Jamie Gough will discuss and contrast neoliberal, corporatist, social democratic, associationalist and socialist 'localisms', each of which claims to address failings in the previously-named approaches. He examines the relation of these political localisms with the dominant neoliberalism at the nation scale, their approach to capital accumulation and class relations, and their particular use of space. All of these localisms contain tensions and dilemmas which he examines from the popular associationalist approach of 'bottom up', small-is-beautiful, communitarian localism.Following the lecture, Dr Ozlem Celik and Dr David Etherington will discuss Jamie's research and writing over three decades, and there will be time for contributions and debate. Drinks will be served at 5.00pm. The event ends at 5.45pm.University of Sheffield seminar events

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