Chapter 2 Deas, I., Hincks, S., (eds.), Territorial Policy and Governance: Alternative Paths, pp 13-30

This chapter explores theoretical insights into the rhetoric of decentralist discourses and the geographical complexities and contradictions of local state remaking on the ground. It argues that by attempting to link economic and social policy in local contexts, the Government’s new localism is profound and needs to be more fully theorised in undertaking geographical political economy research. The chapter explores the conceptual significance of this notion of ‘ecosystems’ for geography and beyond. It discusses that there is considerable mileage in the notion of ‘locality’ to advance critical policy analysis and build political economy theory, shedding particular light on the ‘agglomeration booster’ discourses offered by the Conservatives since 2010. The chapter argues that the resulting ‘localities debate’ saw a potentially important concept prematurely abandoned. It describes that for locality to have analytical value it must also have both an imagined and a material coherence.