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Title: Governing spaces: a multi-sited ethnography of governing welfare reform at close range and at a distance
Authors: Carter, Pamela J.
First Published: 20-Sep-2016
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Critical Policy Studies, in press
Abstract: Governing at a distance has been much discussed in relation to welfare reforms but debates tend toward abstract theorization, neglecting Foucault’s instruction to study mundane practices in specific sites. Although sociological concepts of place, positioning and boundaries carry particular resonance for public policy, ethnographic studies are scarce. A multi-sited ethnography of welfare reform reveals how seemingly discrete governance sites turned out to be linked in a complex policy assemblage. Findings suggest that governing at a distance may be ineffective and may necessitate governing at close range, although scales may fold over. Local spaces of network governance may not be autonomous but imbricated with national and local government and broader scales of governance. Apparently inclusive spaces exhibited exclusionary features, with spaces doing representational work that was simultaneously political, material and symbolic. Complex, shifting socio-spatial relationships thus influence the uneven development of welfare reform.
DOI Link: 10.1080/19460171.2016.1208109
ISSN: 1946-0171
eISSN: 1946-018X
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2016. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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