Why is austerity governable? A Gramscian urban regime analysis of Leicester, UK

Jonathan S. Davies*, Adrian Bua, Mercè Cortina-Oriol, Ed Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Austerity has been delivered in the UK without durably effective resistance. Read through a dialogue between urban regime theory and Gramsci’s theory of the integral state, the article considers how austerity was normalized and made governable in the city of Leicester. It shows how Leicester navigated waves of crisis, restructuring, and austerity, positioning itself as a multicultural city of entrepreneurs. The article explores historical influences on the development of the local state, inscribed in the politics of austerity governance today. From a regime-theoretical standpoint, it shows how the local state accrued the governing resources to deliver austerity while disorganizing and containing resistance. Imbued with legacies of past struggles, this process of organized disorganization produced a functional hegemony articulated in the multiple subjectivities of “austerian realism.” The article elaborates six dimensions of Gramscian regime analysis to inform further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-74
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


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