Bulletin n. 2/2016
December 2016
  • Section A) The theory and practise of the federal states and multi-level systems of government
  • Section B) Global governance and international organizations
  • Section C) Regional integration processes
  • Section D) Federalism as a political idea
  • Bell Jonathan PW, Stockdale Aileen
    Examining participatory governance in a devolving UK: Insights from national parks policy development in Northern Ireland
    in Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy , Volume 34, Issue 8, December ,  2016 ,  1516-1539
    This paper provides a contemporary examination of policy making and participatory practice in the context of devolving governance in the UK. The paper takes Northern Ireland as its focus and is particularly timely considering the context of devolved governance, the ongoing transition from conflict to relative peace and the potential for rejuvenating democracy through participatory governance. The paper concentrates on one particular policy process, namely the attempted designation of a national park in the Mournes Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A thematic analysis of qualitative data is drawn upon to analyse the structural factors that framed the policy-making process, in particular the role of power in determining how consultation processes were initiated, designed and undertaken. Using Lukesí model as an analytical framework, power is shown to manifest at multiple levels within the policy-making process to influence policy outcomes. The paper reveals how the persistence of a top-down approach to policy development combined with a highly parochial political outlook undermined attempts to designate a Mourne National Park. The paper concludes that, given the immaturity of recently devolved government in Northern Ireland, in this instance, the democratising intentions of devolved governance have not been met. This has implications for Northern Irelandís recent reform of public administration which devolves certain planning powers to local authority level and the management of the internationally significant Mournes landscape. Full text available online at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0263774X15625643
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