Imagine there’s no heaven : imaginaries of local government austerity
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This article critically analyses the management of public sector austerity. Focusing on the case of UK local government chief executives, we develop the concept of austerity imaginaries. We provide four examples of these based on extensive interviewing. Offered as a theoretical concept, austerity imaginaries involve shared understandings of the role and potential for local government during times of acute fiscal pressure. We contribute empirical knowledge about the local dynamics of austerity and contribute to critical scholarship in this field. We argue that a simple thesis of ruination and destruction can obscure the creative work involved at the front line and we advocate the value of engaging both critically and empathetically with the everyday meanings in action of public managers working in circumstances far from their choosing. At the same time, the imaginaries reveal the insidious ways in which neoliberal assumptions about the public sector appear to delimit the scope for action.
Orr , K & Bennett , M 2021 , ' Imagine there’s no heaven : imaginaries of local government austerity ' , Organization , vol. First Online . https://doi.org/10.1177/13505084211051050
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