Exploring the regional politics of 'sustainability': making up sustainable communities in the South East of England

Cochrane, Allan (2010). Exploring the regional politics of 'sustainability': making up sustainable communities in the South East of England. Environmental Policy and Governance, 20(6) pp. 370–381.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/eet.556

Abstract

This paper sets to explore and clarify the nature of the politics associated with the institutional shift from government to governance, in the context of the rise of sustainability and sustainable communities as governance discourses. After critically considering the extent to which this represents a move to some sort of post-political settlement, it turns to reflect on the notion of assemblage as a means of interpreting emergent forms of politics and governance and exploring the ways in which different priorities may be negotiated in practice. It highlights the processes by which new political realities are assembled around particular concerns without necessarily ever being fully integrated into some overarching unified set of understandings. And it highlights continued tensions and divisions around sustainability and its implications, which undermine attempts to build a governing (or post-political) consensus. These issues are informed by a review of some aspects of the 'sustainable communities plan' and its implementation, with a particular focus on the South-East of England.

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