Professor Jonathan Davies

Job: Professor of Critical Policy Studies

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Research group(s): Local Governance Research Unit

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7818




Personal profile

Jonathan S. Davies is founding Director of the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity and Professor of Critical Policy Studies. He worked at the University of Warwick from 2001-2011, previously completing his DPhil at the University of York.  His first monograph Partnerships and regimes: the politics of urban regeneration in the UK was published by Ashgate in 2001. His second, Challenging Governance Theory: from Networks to Hegemony was published by The Policy Press in September 2011. Jonathan publishes in leading journals including the Journal of Urban Affairs, the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment and Planning A, Urban Studies, Political Studies, Policy & Politics and Public Administration.  His research interests span critical issues in governance, urban studies and public policy. In addition to developments in governance theory, Jonathan is also working on a number of projects on crisis and austerity governance. Between 2015 and 2018 he held a major ESRC grant, leading an international consortium of researchers in a comparative study of austerity governance. 

Jonathan welcomes applications from prospective PhD students in these research areas.

Twitter accounts: @profjsdavies, @cura2015.

Research group affiliations

Centre for Urban Research on Austerity -

Key research outputs

Davies J S, Bua A, Cortina-Oriol M and Thompson E. 2020. Why is Austerity Governable? A Gramscian Urban Regime Analysis of Leicester, UK. Journal of Urban Affairs. 42(1): 56-74.

Davies J S. and Chorianopoulos I. 2018. Governance: Mature Paradigm or Chicken Soup for European Public Management?  Critical Policy Studies. 12(3): 360-366.

Bayırbağ  M K, Davies J S, and Münch S. 2017. “Interrogating Urban Crisis: The Governance and Contestation of Austerity in Cities”. Urban Studies. 59(4): 2023-2038.

Davies J S. 2017.  Governing in and Against Austerity: Lessons from Eight International Cities.

Davies J S, and Blanco I. “Austerity Urbanism: Patterns of Neoliberalisation and Resistance in Six Cities of Spain and the UK”. Environment and Planning A. 49(7): 1517-1536. Open access at

Davies J S,  Jørn Holm-Hansen, Vadim Kononenko & Asbjørn Røiseland. 2016. Network Governance in Russia – an Analytical Framework, East European Politics, 32(2): 131-147.

Davies J S and Spicer A, 2015, “Interrogating Networks: Towards an Agnostic Perspective on Governance Research”. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 33(2): 223-238.

Davies J S and Msengana-Ndlela L G, 2015, ‘Urban Power and Political Agency: Reflections on a Study of Local Economic Development in Johannesburg and Leeds’, Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, 44: 131-138.

Davies J S, 2014,‘Coercive Cities: Reflections on the Dark Side of Urban Power in the 21st Century’. Journal of Urban Affairs. 36(S2): 590-599

Davies J S, 2013,Just do it differently? ‘Everyday making, Marxism, and the struggle against neoliberalism’, Policy & Politics 41(4): 497-513. 40th Anniversary special edition.

Davies J S, 2012, ‘Network Governance Theory: A Gramscian Critique’. Environment and Planning A, 44(11), 2687 – 2704.

Davies J S and Pill M, 2012, “Hollowing Out Neighbourhood Governance? Rescaling Revitalization in Baltimore and Bristol” Urban Studies, 49(10), 2199-2217.

Davies J S, 2011, Challenging Governance Theory: From Networks to Hegemony.  Bristol, Policy Press.  Research monograph published 28th September 2011.  

Davies J S   'The Governance of Urban Regeneration: A Critique of the 'Governing without Government' Thesis', Public Administration, 80 (1), 2002, 301-322. 

Davies J S  'Urban Regime Theory: a Normative-Empirical Critique', Journal of Urban Affairs, 24, 2002, 1-17. 

Davies J S (2001) Partnerships and Regimes: The Politics of Urban Regeneration in the UK (Aldershot, Ashgate). ISBN 0 7546 1681 9.

Evans M G and Davies J S (1999) Understanding Policy Transfer: A Multi-Level, Multi-Disciplinary Perspective.  Public Administration 77(2) 361-385.

Research interests/expertise

Critical approaches to governance, public policy and urban studies. Governing and contesting austerity.  Applications from prospective PhD students and visiting fellows welcome in these areas.

Areas of teaching

Governance and public policy


DPhil (York)

Honours and awards

DMU Oscar for Oustanding Contribution to Research Excellence, 2017.

Best paper award for paper presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Urban Affairs Association, April 2002: Davies J S 'Partnerships versus Regimes: Why Regime Theory Cannot Explain Urban Coalitions in the UK', Journal of Urban Affairs, 25, 2003, 253-269. 

Warwick Business School Excellence in Publishing Award, 2004:  Davies J S (2004) Conjuncture or Disjuncture? An Institutionalist Analysis of Local Regeneration Partnerships in the UK. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 28(3) 570-585.

Membership of external committees

Elected member of the Governing Board of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) (2014-17 and 2017-2020)

Chair of the UAA Publications Committee (2018-2020)

Member of the UAA Publications Committee (2015-present)

Member of the UAA Journal of Urban Affairs Strategic Development Committee

Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban Affairs

Member of the ESRC Peer Review College

International Corresponding Editor - Urban Studies Journal (2017-2019)

Membership of professional associations and societies

Political Studies Association (UK)

Urban Affairs Association (USA)

Professional licences and certificates



We were funded by the ESRC to study collaborative governance under austerity in eight cities - Athens, Baltimore, Barcelona, Dublin, Leicester, Greater Dandenong (Melbourne), Montreal and Nantes.  In July 2017, we published a report for respondents and stakeholders, for discussion at local commissions to be hosted in each participating city. This can be downloaded in English, French, Greek and Spanish from the CURA blog.

Recent research outputs

Standring A, and Davies. J S. 2020. From crisis to catastrophe: The death and viral legacies of austere neoliberalism in Europe? Dialogues in Human Geography. Published online before print, on 10th June 2020.

Davies J S, Bua A, Cortina-Oriol M and Thompson E.2020. Why is Austerity Governable? A Gramscian Urban Regime Analysis of Leicester, UK. Journal of Urban Affairs. 42(1): 56-74.

Davies J S. and Chorianopoulos I. 2018. Governance: Mature Paradigm or Chicken Soup for European Public Management?  Critical Policy Studies. 12(3): 360-366.

Davies J S, 2018. Managing Austerity: Insights into Spatial Governance from an English City. Lo Squaderno, 47. 23-26.

Davies J S. 2018. “Urban Regime Theory” in Turner, B S et al (eds), The Encyclopaedia of Social Theory.  Oxford: Wiley.

Bua, A. Davies, J. S., Blanco I, Chorianopoulos I, Cortina-Oriol M, Feandeiro A, Gaynor, N, Griggs S, Howarth D and Salazar, Y. 2018. The Urban Governance of Austerity in Europe. In Kerley R, Liddle J and Dunning P, (eds), The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government. Routledge.  280-296. ISBN: 978-1-138-23472-7

Current research students

Jonny Ball (2019-2022)

Externally funded research grants information

Principal Investigator: ESRC funded consortium project (ES/L012898/1), Collaborative Governance under Austerity: An eight-case Comparative Study. £435,131 - April 2015-July 2018.

External advisor: Norwegian Research Council funded project led by the Norwegian Institute of Urban and Regional Research, studying network governance in Russia (2013-2016).

Winner: Urban Studies Foundation and Urban Studies seminar series competition 2013 - Lead Applicant: £19,304 to host conference “Interrogating Urban Crisis” 9-11 September 2013 at De Montfort University. 

Investigator: Spanish Research Council funded consortium led by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, studying austerity governance in Spain and the UK (2012-15).

Principal Investigator: £45,000 from the ESRC for ‘Interpreting the local politics of social exclusion (2004-5).

Co-applicant for £500,000 as part of a multi-institution research consortium led by Mike Geddes (Warwick) to deliver ODPM national evaluation of Local Strategic Partnerships (2002-5).

Professional esteem indicators

Elected member of the Urban Affairs Association Governing Board: March 2014-March 2017. Re-elected for second term April 2017-March 2020. See

Advisor to the UK Labour Party's Community Wealth Building Unit. 2018 -