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Devolution and democracy, a study of narratives and networks in Greater Manchester

Taylor, Michael (2020) Devolution and democracy, a study of narratives and networks in Greater Manchester. Masters by Research thesis (MSc), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This study demonstrates the centrality of a political narrative of difference in the new urban governance structure led by a directly elected Mayor in Greater Manchester Mayor, and examines the specific context of its wider role in the co-production of policy initiatives. By deploying an interpretivist approach it focuses on the formation of the Greater Manchester narrative throughout Andy Burnham’s frequent media interviews and set piece speeches, and examines the mobilisation of policy networks. Through interviews with key actors, it then examines the ways in which the leadership convene networks through unlegislated structures to mobilise consensus around economic and social policy objectives and adopting responsibility for social action policies independent of central government diktat, or limited democratic forums, and building consent for further powers. It addresses the forms of power, the blends of structures and networks, a distinction between place and party, and the limits and risks of failure from these networks. The study addresses an urgent need within the field of political science to analyse the formation of these new political networks through interpretive methodologies and in the context of cross currents of political turmoil, gain better insights into how devolution in England’s regions will be shaped in the future.

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