Munro, Hugh Alasdair David (2008)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
There are an increasing number of opportunities for community leaders to be involved in governing processes. However, the community leader literature fails sufficiently to distinguish the interaction of structure and agency. The thesis establishes a theoretical approach which places community leaders as ‘situated agents’. The thesis establishes a ‘reading-acting-effect’ model to examine how the readings of actors are translated into action and how they interpret the difference this makes. Case studies of two neighbourhoods in Sheffield reveal the changing influence of the community and of the state upon community leaders’ behaviour. In the early stages of development community leaders concentrate on the substantive difference their actions have in their community. The state plays a more significant role as community leaders begin to operate in governance arenas, making compromises to access state resources. State actors play important roles as rule makers and interpreters that affect how community leaders behave. Community leaders face a central dilemma between: modifying their behaviour to work with the state thereby increasing their opportunities to receive funding; and the freedom of working at a distance from the state without such support. Conflict can arise between community leaders as they adopt different positions in relation to the state based on their distinct interpretations of this dilemma.
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