Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Community action in austerity: The case of Community Asset Transfer

Turnbull, Neil 2022. Community action in austerity: The case of Community Asset Transfer. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
Item availability restricted.

[thumbnail of PhD Thesis]
PDF (PhD Thesis) - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (5MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Electronic Thesis publication form] PDF (Electronic Thesis publication form) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (122kB)


Community Asset Transfer (CAT), a practice whereby local authorities transfer the ownership of public assets to community groups, is one example of the many legacies of austerity in Britain. CAT may predominantly be understood through the lexicon of austerity localism whereby the local state - driven by fiscal pressures - offloads public-owned buildings onto community groups. However, narrowly applied this interpretation leaves little room for the possibility and/or recognition of other politics which may exist on the ground. In response, my thesis sets out an alternative non-foundational approach to CAT practice. By combining analysis of an original national survey of CATs, scrutiny of the justifications, critique, and resistance of CAT practice at local authority level, and through a series of detailed ethnographic case studies this work makes two key contributions. Firstly, it documents the geographically uneven and ongoing legacies of austerity of Community Asset Transfer in Britain, and the ways this practice intersects with deprivation, cuts to local authority service spending and national welfare. Secondly, following Gibson-Graham’s (2006) call to read for difference rather than dominance, my work considers ways in which CATs constitute a physical and social infrastructure that is simultaneously shot through with logics of community co-option and austerity, but importantly, open out spaces of care and experimentation through which acts of collective endurance, a quiet politics of care, and explicit activism emerge. Through recourse to ambivalence this work holds in tension these critical perspectives as complementary frameworks to offer a nuanced understanding of CAT. Exploring the afterlives of these assets - and their complex emotional geographies – suggests other possibilities for ethical and political responses and orientation that do not necessarily algin with neoliberal policies. Indeed, in their fragile configuration of collectivism and mutualism CATs potentially can offer a different sensibility to community space and care.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Austerity, Localism, Community Infrastructure, Mutualism, Spaces of Care, Volunteerism, Community Asset Transfer.
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 May 2022
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 01:30

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics