The policy discourses that shaped the ‘transformation’ of Glasgow in the later 20th century: ‘overspill’, ‘redeployment’ and the ‘culture of enterprise’

Chik Collins, Ian Levitt

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    Abstract

    Discussion of the ‘transformation’ of the first generation industrial cities of Europe and northern America is tightly linked to understandings of their ‘industrial decline’. Commonly, this latter process is presented in terms of the declining ‘competitiveness’ of these cities as the post-1970 liberalisation of international trade and improving communications, changed the global economic order. With ‘traditional’ industries collapsing, the challenge was for cities to make the ‘transition’ to ‘post-industrialism’, in which the service sector – and particularly, retail, leisure, tourism and the arts and culture – would assume a much larger role. Crucially, for the purposes of this chapter, this ‘transition’ is commonly seen as one which was fundamentally induced by the force of economic circumstances, rather than being chosen, or driven, by governments or civic leaders. This chapter draws on new research in government archives, both those of the Scottish Office and the Cabinet Office of the UK Government, covering the period from 1945 until the early 1990s. The research, originally conducted to inform a larger project on Glasgow’s ‘excess mortality’, indicates that the city’s industrial decline and the associated policy responses cannot be adequately understood based on the kind of view outlined above. It shows that Glasgow’s industrial decline was actively embraced and accelerated by Scottish policy makers from the early 1960s, as part of a wider regional economic policy agenda which was to be largely sustained for decades, and which was to have seriously adverse consequences for the city and its citizens.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTransforming Glasgow
    Subtitle of host publicationbeyond the post-industrial city
    EditorsKeith Kintrea, Rebecca Madgin
    Place of PublicationBristol
    PublisherPolicy Press
    Chapter1
    Pages21-38
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9781447349808, 9781447349815
    ISBN (Print)9781447349778
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019

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