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Delivering on the Big Society? Tensions in hosting community organisers

Fisher, JC and Lawthom, R and Kagan, C (2016) Delivering on the Big Society? Tensions in hosting community organisers. Local Economy. ISSN 0269-0942

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Abstract

The Big Society, including the community organising programme, was central to the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron’s vision for a redefined relationship between state and society. Promising the devolvement of power to neighbourhoods and citizens – Community organising was funded by the Cabinet Office in 2011. It was conceived of as a means of developing active engagement of communities and individuals to resolve the issues within deprived neighbourhoods. Manchester Metropolitan University hosted one of the first cohorts of community organisers working with a national organisation, Locality. This article provides a case study of a university-community partnership centred on community organising. Drawing on narratives, we consider the tensions inherent in university hosting of community organisers and the framing of the project as community organising as distinct from other forms of community practice.

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