Community assets in changing times: Exploring ownership, Covid-19 and the opportunity context

SKROPKE, Carina (2023). Community assets in changing times: Exploring ownership, Covid-19 and the opportunity context. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Community ownership of assets describes a situation in which a community organisation owns or manages physical assets, such as land and / or buildings, on behalf of and for a local community. Such activity, which has a long history in England, has seen a r evival in recent years, as policymakers and academics explore its relevance for current social, economic and environmental challenges. Proponents argue that community ownership of assets is a means to revive community empowerment; autonomous and participat ive decision decision-making; addressing local needs and preferences; and generating well well-being and community cohesion, as well as compensating for shrinking public/welfare services. This explains the recent policy interest given the prevailing impulse for fiscal a usterity and shrinking the size of the state. In this context community ownership has been approached as a valuable alternative and desired outcome of shifting public responsibilities away from state control. But what is the significance and importance of ownership for the individuals involved? How does ownership and the accompanying responsibilities impact on the local contexts, organisations and communities, particularly during acute crises like the Covid Covid-19 pandemic? Nine community organisations owning p hysical assets were studied, four of them in depth. Applying a critical constructionist grounded theory approach, the experienced realities of the actors involved were reconstructed to shed light on the dimension and importance of ownership. Rather than th ese experiences being centred on ownership as such, the study finds that it is one factor among many others. As a distinct characteristic, ownership is important to the various organisations and communities, however, it only becomes beneficial and feasible when situated with other resources and factors which feed into an opportunity context. The study introduced this concept of ‘opportunity context’ to enable a processual understanding of community ownership. The concept of the opportunity context is applie d to analyse the impacts of the pandemic on these organisations that fundamentally rely on physical spaces to which access was denied; and to understand how the pandemic affected the various levels on which the respective opportunity contexts are shaped. T he research reveals that approaching community ownership from a processual perspective allows a greater understating of how and why different outcomes emerge and are sustained. However, further investigations are needed into the roles of these assets in po post -pandemic arrangements and how an optimal configuration of opportunities can be supported to design community ownership in ways which increase feasibility and enhance benefits.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Archer, Tom [0000-0002-9857-359X] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Ferrari, Edward [0000-0002-5506-7670] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Wilson, Ian [0000-0001-8813-3382]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Tom Archer / Supervisors: Prof. Edward Ferrari and Ian Wilson
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2023 16:24
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2023 02:02

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