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Grasping micro-macro-interactions in urban development politics: a multidimensional network approach to collective action

Mikro-makro-Interaktionen in der Stadtpolitik: ein multidimensionaler Netzwerkansatz zur Erklärung kollektiven Handelns in der Stadtentwicklung
[journal article]

Lelong, Bettina

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Abstract Cities are continuously evolving formations. Change occurs mostly incrementally, but sometimes more radical shifts transform the urban fabric. Considering the complexity of urban development processes, this paper asks for the conditions of collective action which enable an urban policy change deviating from established planning and political perceptions and interpretations, routines and actual balances of power. To capture the structuring conditions, the paper employs Emirbayer and Goodwin’s theoretical approach (1996), which conceptualizes cultural, social-structural and social-psychological contexts of action. The paper translates their framework into a network-theoretical methodology which provides an analytical template for the exploration of two empirical case studies. The paper outlines a multilevel analysis and discusses the qualitative network reconstruction and a frame analysis. Interpreting the find-ings of the political implementation processes of two waterfront redevelopments, it can be assumed that strategic networks of interdependent but loosely coupled actors aspired to overcome hegemonic network domains. The analysis reveals two types of networks, which show an exclusive and an inclusive logic of action respectively. Apart from this general distinction, both cases indicate certain supportive conditions which helped to consolidate the new urban development schemes. Regarding the methodology, it can be concluded that the integrated analysis of actor configurations, cultural frames and social-psychological conditions allowed for an encompassing analysis and helped to discern a variety of constraining and enabling conditions on human agency in urban politics.
Keywords urban development; local politics; collective behavior; social network; network analysis; urban planning; interaction
Classification Area Development Planning, Regional Research; Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods
Method empirical; qualitative empirical; basic research; development of methods
Free Keywords collective action; social network analysis; network governance approach; comparative case study design; qualitative content analysis; frame analysis; urban politics
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 203-234
Journal Historical Social Research, 39 (2014) 2
Issue topic Spatial analysis
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works