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Mediations and Manipulations: Everyday Community Partnership Making in South Wales

Sophocleous, Christala 2014. Mediations and Manipulations: Everyday Community Partnership Making in South Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This ethnographic research within the community of Hendinas in South Wales is set at the intersection of debates about governance and the place of ‘community’ within public policy. Taking the Welsh Governments’ Community First Programme as its starting point, it explores how community based practices that have ‘something to do’ (Law 2003) with partnership, come to constitute institutionalised ‘community-led partnerships’. Grounded in empirical ethnographic and interview data, the core research question of ‘how is partnership made in and through everyday lives?’ is addressed through the development and exploration of the ‘institutional life of a community’. Distinguishing between community as a place of affective ties and one in which action is directed at the collective projects of ‘making things better’. Drawing from over a year of fieldwork the thesis develops an empirically grounded critical interpretive policy analysis which engages directly with local people, staff and practices to explore how they use their agency and that ascribed to them by the Communities First policy as productive agents (NAfW 2001a; WAG2007a). Developed from the work of Foucault (1991a [1978]) much policy literature has highlighted the self-responsibilisation risks of government programmes. This research finds that while these risks exist, there is also a counter trend grounded in the broader ‘institutional life of communities’, in which critical self-responsibilisation also develops. The research explores the parameters of local understandings of ‘successful’ policy implementation by considering an instance of its ‘failure’ which brings into view two different models of partnership. The first, ‘partnership for action’ requires formal participation in a ‘partnership’ as a precondition of action, in contrast to ‘partnership as action’, in which partnership emerges from action between two or more agencies. Exploring policy implications and extrapolating from research findings, the thesis highlights tensions between the local advancement of communities which indicate that despite seeking to enhance social justice, the Communities First policy may perversely exasperate tensions and schisms between disadvantaged communities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 10:52

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