Managing for local resilience: towards a strategic approach

Shaw, Keith and Maythorne, Louise (2013) Managing for local resilience: towards a strategic approach. Public Policy and Administration, 28 (1). pp. 43-65. ISSN 0952-0767

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0952076711432578

Abstract

The term resilience is increasingly being used to capture the challenges involved in managing in ‘hard times’. This article aims to provide one of the first empirical studies of the term’s application to local authority interventions around emergency planning and climate change: two areas in which resilience has been particularly emphasised in local policy making. Drawing upon research undertaken in the north east of England, the article considers how local managers have understood and applied the term, the extent to which it has been developed as a coherent policy agenda, and its strategic significance. In reframing the debate on resilience in terms of discourses of ‘recovery’ and ‘transformation’, the article examines how, in addition to informing policy realities on the ground, resilience is also a normative, politically laden term, within which conservative narratives of uncertainty, vulnerability and anxiety compete with a more radical focus on hope, adaptation and transformation. The study reveals concerns over the term’s longevity, tensions between the different interpretations of resilience, and the lack of a coherent strategic framework within which the different discourses on resilience could be considered and reconciled. However, the article also captures the growing importance of a resilience narrative that is seen to add value in a period of austerity, integrate key features of climate change adaptation and emergency planning, and act as a ‘strategic lynchpin’ in relation to other policy areas, such as economic resilience.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is based on empirical work undertaken within a funded research programme on local resilience. It is written jointly with the senior research associate appointed to work on the project, Dr Louise Maythorne. The article, which draws upon 30 interviews with public sector managers working in the areas of climate change and emergency planning, considers how managers have understood and applied the term, the extent to which it has been developed as a coherent policy agenda, and its strategic significance. In doing so, the article both captures the tensions between different interpretations of resilience and the growing importance of a resilience narrative that is seen by managers as offering opportunities for a more proactive response in a period of austerity. This article draws on Shaw’s research on resilience developed in the 2010-2012 period. It aimed to provide one of the first empirical studies of the term’s application to local interventions around emergency planning and climate change: two areas in which resilience has been particularly emphasised in local policy-making. It was published in the leading public policy journal Public Policy and Administration, the journal of the UK Joint University Council (JUC) Public Administration Committee (PAC).
Uncontrolled Keywords: citizen participation, professionalism, professions, public administration, public management, regional and local government, strategy
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Keith Shaw
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2013 08:09
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2017 16:03
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/13022

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