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The place and practices of wellbeing in local governance.

Atkinson, S. and Joyce, K.E. (2011) 'The place and practices of wellbeing in local governance.', Environment and planning C : government and policy., 29 (1). pp. 133-148.


The concept of well-being has become prominent within national policy goals in the UK since the end of the 1990s. However, the concept of well-being remains ill defined, an instability that is increasingly understood as problematic to policy making. We engage with this terminological instability through an exploration of how the concept of well-being is practised discursively in local governance and critically examine the place of the concept in local policy making. In contrast to the current enthusiasm to define and measure well-being, we argue that the conceptual instability has inherent value for local governance. The concept of well-being is practised through a number of potentially conflicting discourses, but it is exactly this conceptual instability that enables a local negotiation and combination of alternative policy frameworks for local place-shaping strategies. As such, well-being not only is an overarching goal of governance but also contributes to the dynamics of the policy process.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Atkinson, S. and Joyce, K.E. 2011. The definitive peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and planning C : government and policy., 29 (1). pp. 133-148, 10.1068/c09200
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:22 February 2011
Date of first online publication:February 2011
Date first made open access:No date available

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