Local Political Studies in Britain
This chapter briefly reviews the dominant treatment of urban politics in Britain, the local political studies literature. The purpose is to establish a summary description of this literature to serve as a benchmark or comparative referent against which later theoretical and empirical analysis may be set. I argue that even within the restricted local politics area many topics are left virtually unexplored. Others are covered only by studies whose empirical basis is suspect.
KeywordsLocal Government Political Science Local Politics Council Member Community Power
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Guide to Further Reading
- The best review of the local politics literature is provided by Gyford’s Local Politics in Britain (1976): a new reprint should be available by the time this book is published. Stanyer’s textbook Understanding Local Government (1976) is a neat statement of the current balance of interests in local political studies as a whole. The outstanding major research works in the field are Newton’s Second City Politics (1976), and Dearlove’s The Politics of Policy in Local Government (1973): both of these are vital reading for anyone studying urban politics in Britain.Google Scholar
- One way of sampling the different approaches analysed here is to look at the practitioner-orientated journals. Public Administration and the Public Administration Bulletin normally contain predominantly institutional articles, although some organisation theory pieces are also published. Various behavioural approaches, numerous fairly bogus managerial pieces and some good institutional papers are published by Local Government Studies. Finally, Policy and Politics publishes overwhelmingly behavioural pieces and includes a wide-ranging abstracting service with somewhat eccentric coverage. Overtly political science approaches are (infrequently) published in the two major journals, Political Studies and British Journal of Political Science.Google Scholar