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- Author or Editor: Filipe Teles x
Drawing on classical and emerging research perspectives, this comprehensive book provides an up-to-date review of local government in Europe.
Featuring an impressive range of contributors from both eastern and western Europe, the book addresses three main topics: territorial reforms, democratic empowerment of citizens and the role of local leadership, as well as new trends in local finances.
Acknowledging their inherent diversity, the book examines the ways that local governments have responded to shared challenges, such as climate change, increasing populism and democratic deficit in order to identify both the variety and communalities between the country-specific features. In doing so, it provides a rich picture of the latest trends in local government, as well as pointing the way for future developments.
This book covered a wide range of questions and aspects related to local governments in Europe and set the landscape where the most vivid and relevant dimensions were highlighted and discussed. The topics addressed in these chapters touch upon three main aspects of research on local governments:
Space – The spatial and territorial features of local governments and their changes. Studies testing the size hypothesis are still common in the field and touch all dimensions of local government performance.
Scope – What are local government functions, possibilities and autonomy to address some of the most pressing policy issues and contemporary wicked problems? This question is considered within the relation and constant struggle between decentralization and centralization movements – most systems strive to balance but it is still a goal and not an achievement.
Power – Who leads the democratic processes at the local level and how is power gained? This question is answered in the context of electoral systems and political parties but also in relation to the interplay between councillors, mayors and civil society.
In the Preface, we have formulated a question on the relevance of the democratic grounds of local government. The proposition behind it was that local government is constantly undergoing substantial changes and reforms that should be discussed on a deep ground of socio-political values. In fact, the common argument, seen in most of the chapters, is the traditional discussion on the economic versus democratic functions of local government.
All chapters present testimonies of ongoing changes and reforms as well as of debates regarding the role of local government in European countries.