Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online prior to print.
Austerity governance and bifurcated civil society: The changing matrices of urban politics in Athens, by Ioannis Chorianopoulos &Naya Tselepi
In this article, the shift from government to governance in local affairs is viewed through the “rescaling” lens and the changing relations between state and civil society via a scalable interpretation of the Gramscian notion of the “integral state.” The case in point is Athens, in which formal and informal collaborative vehicles for decision making were explored. At the city hall level, we show how the rescaling of the local state and the politics of austerity is influencing the recomposition of civil society, shaping a new form of “elite pluralism” based on the power and influence of third-sector multinationals. At the civil society level, we investigate the variety of grassroots collaborative initiatives that have sprung recently up, underscoring their firm avoidance of austerity-related agents, policies, and institutions. Austerity is changing the matrices of Athens’s urban governance. It is bifurcating civil society into an elite sector partnering with the city and a grassroots element that positions itself outside the austerity machine.