By Patrick Dunleavy
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Extra resources for Urban Political Analysis: The politics of collective consumption
Later definitions, notably Pahl's reconsidered view, seem to lay all the emphasis on the spatial input as a definition of the urban field; indeed Pahl adopts directly from Williams the view that 'location and access are the only independent bases for urban politics' (Pahl, 1977b, p. 51). 1. In delimiting a city, urban managerialists consistently adopted administrative areas as foci for their analysis, usually concentrating on local government units. Pahl argued that the urban/rural dichotomy was irrelevant to urban managerialism: 'the urban or spatial sociologist is interested in the areas in which decisions crucially affecting the life chances of those living there are made.
The autonomy of the locality within a wider society is often confused with the autonomy of the political sphere in the locality and in general. Again there are two possible options: (a) high autonomy ofthe political; and (b) low autonomy ofthe political. Essentially these options concern the extent to which narrowly political explanations are offered, in a form which is relatively 'disembodied' from an analysis of social or economic processes. 5. The options available to urban researchers on the fundamental explanatory units in their analysis are the set of general methodological positions on a continuum whose extremes are marked by pure methodological individualism, on the one hand, and by sociological holism on the other.
9). But in practice, this criterion was modified to such an extent that pluralists accepted as key issues those which were treated as such by the political system, whether or not there was any apparent conflict. , even though Polsby noted that 'by 1957, practically everyone in New Haven who had anything to say in public strongly favoured the program' (Polsby, 1963, p. 71). Pluralists' methodological individualism in defining interests, issues and power spilled over via the 'problematic of actors' into a view of the political process as possessing a high degree of autonomy from other aspects of social life.