Practices, programs and projects of urban carbon governance: Perspectives from the Australian city

Pauline McGuirk*, Harriet Bulkeley, Robyn Dowling

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper addresses the governance of transitions to lower carbon cities. Drawing on both governmentality and neo-Gramscian perspectives, we chart and explore the diverse objects, subjects, means and ends evoked as governmental programs, or hegemonic projects in-the-making, are shaped to orchestrate urban carbon governance. We ask about the diversity of what is being sought through the governance of carbon in the city, how this is rendered and how carbon is being made to matter in the city. We do so through analysis of an audit of carbon governance initiatives in Australian cities, and a characterisation of these initiatives as four distinctive governmental programs. To make sense of the diverse ecology of initiatives revealed, we adopt a typological approach to suggest four distinctive governmental programs-Behaviour change; Demonstration; Transition; and Advocacy. We suggest that Australia's emergent landscape of urban carbon governance both reproduces existing governance orderings and contains openings-via fragile emergent hegemonic projects-that might produce more transformative orderings: not least because of the demands and politics the low carbon subjects being invoked might be empowered to pursue but also because of the potential reconfiguration of the 'integral state' as new governmental programs are imagined and enacted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-147
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


    • Australia
    • Governmentality
    • Gramsci
    • Hegemonies in-the-making
    • Urban carbon governance


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