Knowledge of Governance as Knowledge for Governance: Spatialized Techniques of Neutralization

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The term governance often evokes processes of negotiation and collaboration between civil society, private sector, and state actors. Yet, governance processes also involve a contest of ideas in efforts to legitimate state-backed decision making. Drawing on empirical cases of coastal property developments in South Australia, this chapter investigates how key actors in land-use governance—such as developers, planners, politicians, and scientists—reflexively deploy “techniques of neutralization” to deflect critiques and manage opposition to contentious new developments. The author explores how these techniques draw on particular spatial metaphors and images to suggest that, somewhat ironically, a tacit meta technique is to neutralize the projected environmental risks to coastal space through narratives of time. By outlining these everyday techniques of neutralization, the author argues that such routines are a form of knowledge of governance—knowing what can be said and ways of speaking within governance processes—that is in turn a form of knowledge for governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge for Governance
EditorsJohannes Gluckler, Herrigel Gary, Handke Michael
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-47150-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-47149-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameKnowledge and Space
ISSN (Print)1877-9220
ISSN (Electronic)2543-0580


  • Governance
  • Techniques of neutralization
  • Space
  • Time
  • Narrative
  • Planning
  • Land use
  • Development
  • Coast


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