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Title: Social capital and new localism : a comparitive study of two parish councils
Author: Darien, Lindsey Elizabeth Olivia
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2012
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The theme of devolution has been taken up by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition from May 2010. This study demonstrates the enduring nature of the problem of devolving responsibility. The primary concern is to make an original contribution to the literature on the development of new localism by focusing on two contrasting Kentish examples of networked community governance: Downswood Parish Council and Kings Hill Parish Council. Downswood Parish Council's structure of governance is representative of the sometimes difficult central-local relationship. At Kings Hill the dual struggle for power includes a third partner, the private service provider (developer of Kings Hill). The study seeks to show that traditional social capital theory provides few insights into citizens' motivations to invest in social capital as a public good. Theories of leadership and club goods are introduced to provide an explicit theoretical account of the links between social networks and individual motivations. It will be argued that these theories make it possible to depart from Robert Putnam's belief that social capital is a bottom-up initiative in governance. The main findings show that both models of parish governance are remarkably good at generating and mobilising/expanding social capital. But it has to be emphasised that it is not in the interest of those holding power to just give it up. Instead, once community activists have gained the residents' support it is up to them to take power, and at times be critical of government policy. This is exactly what the parish councillors did on several occasions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available