Community Power: Problems, Possibilities and Potentials, as Perceived by Stakeholders in Acton, West London

Pepper, Rachel. 2010. Community Power: Problems, Possibilities and Potentials, as Perceived by Stakeholders in Acton, West London. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This research examines participants’ perspectives on opportunities, barriers and new spaces for community power. It explores original evidence on how they perceive the conditions that enable or inhibit community empowerment to occur, and the factors that influence this process. The investigation references different schools of thought concerning power in relation to local actors’ perceptions. I focus upon the theories of Foucault, Freire and Taylor in particular, exploring perspectives of power as fluid, dynamic and pervasive. These approaches provide the framework for the exploration of the relevance of theory to practice.

These debates have relevance to current public policies especially that promoting citizen engagement as part of public service modernisation and civic renewal. The research examines the inherent tensions between policy aims and practical experiences. Theoretical and policy questions are explored through a case study based in Ealing, West London, looking at local issues for a range of experienced activists in the global city. The research timeframe covers five years and includes the use of participatory research methods. The focus is on actors’ understanding, how motivations impact on the strategies employed across the sectors, and the ways those ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the system adjust to changes. An analysis of participants’ testimonies reveals the contemporary peopled cityscape, and the routes to gaining greater control over the personal, community and political worlds.

My thesis points to a shifting terrain within which community professionals and activists navigate, and reveals evidence of considerably more common ground between public policy professionals and community activists than has previously been suggested in the existing literature and current policy frameworks. The ability to adapt to changes in context is exposed as critical, whilst balancing core principles with new priorities. The strategic role of bridging individuals and organisations is identified as an important function providing a crucial and challenging link.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)

Date:

November 2010

Item ID:

4765

Date Deposited:

06 Jun 2011 08:49

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:32

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/4765

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