This article can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Worlds of Austerity: Governance and Resistance in Eight Cities.
This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.
“La coopération, c’est clé”: Montreal’s urban governance in times of austerity, by Pierre Hamel & Roger Keil
This paper presents an investigation of local politics in an age of austerity in Montreal. Based on detailed interviews with actors in the local state, the municipal sphere and civil society, we analyzed a broad spectrum of political options between resistance and collaboration that characterizes the landscape of “austerian realism” in the Quebec metropolis. While Montreal has had a long history of collaboration at the local level, the municipality’s operation and institutions have come under stress lately as more aggressive austerity policies have been downloaded to the city from the province. We aim to understand what the consequences for local actors have been. The paper is subdivided in four parts. First, we revisit the notion of urban governance, building on a definition of the state as “cultural practice.” Second, we introduce the main components of past local state restructuring in Montreal, paying attention to the main rationalities supporting austerity measures. Third, we look at the main categories of actors involved in collaborative governance around issues of austerity measures and policies. Fourth, we consider activism within civil society. We conclude that emerging forms of cooperation remain key to the understanding of welfare state restructuring in Montreal.