How are multiculturalism, inequality and belonging understood in the day-to-day thinking and practices of local government? Examining original empirical data, this book explores how local government officers and politicians negotiate 'difficult subjects' linked with community cohesion policy: diversity, inequality, discrimination, extremism, migration, religion, class, power and change. The book argues that such work necessitates 'uncomfortable positions' when managing ethical, professional and political commitments.
Based on first-hand experience of working in urban local government and extensive ethnographic, interview and documentary research, the book applies governmentality perspectives in a new way to consider how people working within government are subject to regimes of governmentality themselves, and demonstrates how power operates through emotions.
Its exploration of how 'sociological imaginations' are applied beyond academia will be valuable to those arguing for the future of public services and building connections between the university and wider society, including scholars and students in sociology, social policy, social geography, urban studies and politics, and policy practitioners in local and central government.
Winner of the BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2014
"A beautifully written book that gets right to the heart of negotiations over community relations in contemporary Britain." Ben Rogaly, University of Sussex
"Provides original insights into the challenges of negotiating multiculturalism and diversity in the U.K. context." American Journal of Sociology
"This book provides an original and critical analysis with significant implications for public policy and will be essential reading for those concerned with cohesion, inequality and social change." Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London
"Focusing on the how rather than the what, this incisive and challenging account explores community cohesion policy as practice, exploring how it is embedded in particular places and in the narratives and emotional biographies of its practitioners." Claire Alexander, University of Manchester
"Reading this book is rewarding…compelling account of how policy is translated through negotiations and narrative frames" Public Administration
Jones draws on a range of methods – participant observation, interviews, and documentary analysis – to produce a rich and detailed ethnography of community cohesion policy and practice in particular places and specific moments." Critical Social Policy
"The rich details of this book, in which interviews and in situ accounts are integrated with a national imperative to engage with and direct the diversification of society, are compelling, and the book should be widely read by academics, policy makers and policy enactors." LSE Review of Books blog
"Hannah Jones sympathetically and persuasively brings the politics of local government to life far beyond the mechanics of service delivery, showing how politicians and bureaucrats make up places as they make policy." Allan Cochrane, The Open University
"This important book delivers fresh thinking on cohesion as a policy approach to complex, diverse communities. It elegantly extends our understandings of emotion and policy work and makes a significant contribution to public sociology debates." Dr Sarah Neal, University of Surrey
Hannah Jones is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at the University of Warwick. She previously worked in local government in inner London, and has held positions as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University, Research Associate in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University, Teaching Fellow in the Department Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Research Associate at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford.
Introduction: Getting Uncomfortable;
Negotiating cohesion, inequality and change;
Contradictory narratives of cohesion;
'Is there anything the council did that distracted you from extremism?';
I Love Hackney/Keep It Crap;
'We spent a lot of time trying to be known for other things';
'You need to be totally objective, but you can't be';
Thinking Inside the Box.