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The place and practices of wellbeing in local governance

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kerry Joyce


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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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Atkinson S, Joyce KE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning C

Year: 2011

Volume: 29

Issue: 1

Pages: 133-148

Print publication date: 01/01/2011

ISSN (print): 0263-774X

Publisher: Pion Ltd.


DOI: 10.1068/c09200


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