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The Fall and Rise of the Local Community: A Comparative and Historical Perspective

Hellmut Wollmann
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Hellmut Wollmann: Institut für Sozialwissenschaft, Humboldt Universität, Unter den Linden 6, D10099 Berlin, Germany, hellmutt.wollmann@rz.hu-berlin.de

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 8, 1419-1438

Abstract: In pursuing an historical and comparative approach, the article aims at exploring the relation between local government and 'local community'. For comparative purposes, the paper draws primarily on the UK/England, Germany and Sweden as pertinent examples. The explicitly historical approach of the article promises to recognise (and perhaps even rediscover) the distinct and, at the same time, symbiotic and dialectic development and relation which have existed between local government and local community throughout their evolution-from the 'founding period' of modern local government during the 19th century, through its development under the (centralised) welfare state in the (mid) 20th century, to the present-day. The historically educated perception should be helpful to identify and assess the dynamics and perspective of the recent 'rise' of the local (political, social and economic) community and its impact on redefining and recalibrating the relation and balance between local government and what, in the current social science debate, is called 'governance'—with the 're-emerging' local community and its manifold political, social and economic actors becoming part-and-parcel of the expanding and multiplying networks of (non-public) actors that are captured under the term and concept 'governance'.

Date: 2006
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