Discursive and Social construction of Smart Cities within European Policymaking

Dafni Mangalousi
Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

Abstract
With Europe 2020, the European Commission aims to “foster smart, inclusive and sustainable growth in Europe” so that the EU can “emerge strengthened from the current financial and economic crisis” (COM, 2012). In this strategy, ‘smart cities and communities’ are conceived as both goal and necessity and idealized as a solution for the projected future. In the parallel, structural changes in European governance among others pre- determine participation within policymaking procedures while neutralizing its effects. The aim of this project is to examine both the discursive and social construction of smart cities and communities within policy documents of the Commission by first employing Laclau and Mouffe’s Discourse Theory (1985) and second discussing the findings under the prism of Feenberg’s Critical Theory of Technology (2010) and the works of Lefebvre (1996) and Harvey (2008; 2012) on urbanization and ‘the right to the city’.  My main argument is that within policymaking one timely finds the discursive construction of smart cities which subsumes their social construction.

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