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'It's who you know': community empowerment through network brokers

Morgan-Trimmer, Sarah 2014. 'It's who you know': community empowerment through network brokers. Community Development Journal 49 (3) , pp. 458-472. 10.1093/cdj/bst049

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Abstract

This article presents a case study of a regeneration programme which explored ways in which residents involved in the programme exerted influence over local decision-making for public services. The participation literature has extensively documented constraints on resident empowerment; this article explores the opportunities for resident influence within this context of limitations. The study employed a form of network analysis to conceptualize the regeneration partnership as a network and to explore the ways in which individuals adopted roles as ‘network brokers’ which facilitated resident influence. Institutional arrangements of the regeneration partnership were designed to promote participation through formal meetings but resident influence also occurred through network brokers in both formal and informal peripheral network spaces, thereby representing an opportunity for resident influence over and above formal participation arrangements. If this type of central–peripheral network structure and brokering is a normal pattern for participation, then the implication here is that although institutional arrangements and numbers of residents participating are important, we should also pay attention to how individuals are networked, because this seems to have implications for resident influence. This was something of an ideal case, given the comparatively benign environment for participation in the case study area, and influence for the majority of residents remained limited overall, but it points to the importance of key individuals in local participatory initiatives, their location in networks and their ‘brokering’ work in empowering local communities, which may have applicability in other contexts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0010-3802
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2019 15:18
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/52482

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