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Keywords:

  • Empowerment;
  • participation;
  • neoliberalism;
  • urban policies;
  • communities;
  • UK ;
  • USA

Abstract

Over the course of the 1990s the concept of empowerment became firmly established within the vocabulary of urban politics in several different national contexts. This article analyzes the spread of this concept by looking at the politics of urban renewal in the United States and the United Kingdom. It shows that even if (and possibly because) the definition of empowerment remained vague, the turn to empowerment came out of and contributed to a shift in the nature of urban politics and to a reconfiguration of governmental methods, the role of the state and, consequently, to changes in civil society, all of which were associated with a rise to prominence of a neoliberal perspective.