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Directly Elected Mayors – Why Now and What Now?

Placeless, Faceless and Pointless:
A Tripod of Fatalism

The rise of elected mayors in the early 21st century is probably not a coincidence and seems to relate to a growing unease with, but acquiescence to, the status quo. Indeed, there seem to be three related aspects of this tripod of fatalism that might explain the phenomenon: (a) the world that we live in could literally be anywhere in the world because the world all looks the same – it is ‘placeless’; (b) we now live in a world that – to some people – appears to be out of their control but controlled by some anonymous bureaucracy or global corporation – it is ‘faceless’; and (c) that faceless and placeless world seems to be proceeding in a directionless way because all routes lead to the same valueless direction – it is ‘pointless’. All three could be locked into the apparent powerless nature of individuals in contemporary society, what Durkheim might have called ‘anomie’, that is an uprooting of the familiar patterns of life and a casting adrift in a sea of anonymity. Let us delve briefly into this deracinated brave new world.