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Citizen dialogue for whom? Competing rationalities in urban planning, the case of Gothenburg, Sweden

Journal article
Authors Linda Soneryd
Elisabeth Lindh
Published in Urban Research and Practice
Volume 12
Issue 3
Pages 230-246
ISSN 1753-5069
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Pages 230-246
Language en
Keywords citizen dialogue, governmentality, rationalities, urban planning
Subject categories Sociology, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


This paper analyses citizen dialogue in urban planning from a governmentality perspective. We focus on (1) how motives and goals connected to ‘citizen dialogue’ and the activities and practices initiated to accomplish these can be understood in light of competing rationalities and (2) how public officials and other actors involved in organising citizen dialogues understand and manage the tensions between competing rationalities. The analysis draws on a case study of urban development in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. We suggest a critical approach to the use of citizen dialogue as a technology of government, an approach enabling an analysis of various functions and implications of citizen dialogues.

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