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Local governance and concrete research : investigating the uneven development of regulation.

Painter, J. and Goodwin, M. (1995) 'Local governance and concrete research : investigating the uneven development of regulation.', Economy and society., 24 (3). pp. 334-356.


This paper considers some of the methodological implications of regulation theory in relation to our current research into the restructuring of the institutions and practices of local governance in Britain during the 1990s. We propose that a methodological approach to regulation theory avoids some of the difficulties associated with the current widespread use of concepts such as the 'mode of regulation'. Emphasizing the social practices which constitute ongoing regulatory processes, we suggest, focuses attention on the geography of regulation, its organization through sites and institutions and requires that full weight be given to the process of concrete research. This approach, which draws on, and is compatible with, the epistemology of critical realism, avoids both teleology and functionalism. However, it also calls into question the coherence and homogeneity of modes of regulation. The paper concludes with an outline of the concrete research strategy we have adopted in our investigation of local governance.

Item Type:Article
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Date of first online publication:1995
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