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Items where Author is "AGARWAL, Tanushree"

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“People-powered regeneration”: The emergence of civic crowdfunding in a post-political era
Civic crowdfunding, a practice through which citizens contribute to funding community infrastructure, has been expanding rapidly but remains under researched. Within the UK, the growth of crowdfunded community projects has been attributed to the emphasis on localism, and in London—where the GLA and local councils have partnered with the crowdfunding platform Spacehive—the Mayor has praised it as “people-powered regeneration”. Those in support of localism claim that it deepens democracy by expanding participation, while others have argued that localism can be ‘anti-political’. Paralleling these debates, many theorists have suggested that new areas for participation in urban regeneration are underpinned by a post-political agenda, which aims to build consensus while leaving out debate. This research seeks to narrow down these varied arguments and explore if civic crowdfunding tends to depoliticise the urban sphere. The research involved a critical discourse analysis of the policies and debates governing civic crowdfunding in London, and a comparative analysis of six projects on Spacehive; including interviews with project founders, members of the GLA and local authorities. The findings reveal that while there is a notable emphasis on localism and associated anti-political ideas in the discourse, such conclusions remain largely abstract, highlighting the need for an empirically focussed discussion. Here, this dissertation provides a framework for analysing the shifting relationship between civic and state actors, throughout the lifecycle of crowdfunding campaigns and the post-political tactics that may come into play. By focussing on the role of both grassroots and state actors, the research argues that depoliticization is not limited to top-down governance agents and that multiple forms of depoliticization can come into effect at a particular stage. Furthermore, civic crowdfunding itself serves as a conduit for the depoliticization of the urban sphere, by producing a type of politics which prioritises pragmatism, delivery and consensus building.

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