Urban regeneration is increasingly framed around notions of community empowerment. Policy programmes seek to make communities visible and then strengthen and support them through the establishment of a leadership role in urban regeneration practices. At first glance, this appears to be a positive development. Yet commentators note how community partnerships – seen to invoke a ‘rolling back’ of the state – are indicative of a particular economic logic that is governing urban policy provision. Partnerships, it is argued, constitute tokenistic organisations that do not represent diversity of interests within a particular area. Instead, they work primarily in support of business or government agendas. This paper re-orientates this critique. Focusing on one example of a community-led urban regeneration programme – New Deal for Communities in Bristol – it explores the subjects and spaces to emerge in and through this new form of governance. By identifying the manner in which New Deal for Communities composes all participants as partnering subjects, it posits community engagement as the medium through which power is being reconstituted in extremely comprehensive ways. It then questions the possibilities for developing and sustaining alternative forms of collaborative practice.