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Title: How can Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) contribute to community health and wellbeing?
Author: Ward, Sarah
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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Assets approaches have become a popular policy tool for addressing disadvantage and poor health in recent years. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) proposes that disadvantaged communities can develop autonomy and build a local vision for change, regaining control over local activity. In spite of their popularity, there remains little empirical evidence of how assets approaches function to address disadvantage. This study aims to address the evidence gap by co-producing an evaluation framework for ABCD. By defining the concept of wellbeing according to a Capabilities Approach, it explores whether the social justice potential of ABCD can be extended by building links between internal social networks and external change. Drawing on Theory of Change and Realist Evaluation methods, the research surfaces the broad hypothetical changes promised by ABCD and examines specific Context Mechanism-Outcome (CMO) configurations to identify their causal mechanisms. The study then produces a framework of wellbeing goals to evaluate ABCD. The case studies demonstrated evidence of early-cycle ABCD outcomes of social networks and new activity but no attributable evidence of latter outcomes of community association and a local vision for change. Despite this, evidence of activism not attributable to ABCD offered insights into how the ABCD approach might remedy these problems. Most of the ABCD Capabilities goals identified by research participants were found to cluster around ABCD outcomes early in the activity cycle. By contrast, the goals identified in the final domain of participation and voice were located across the ABCD mechanism cycle, moving from personal decision-making through to the wider associational commitment of civic activism. This suggested a participation pathway, requiring activity and advocacy support across the ABCD cycle in order to reach the 'tipping point' of wider association and vison for change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral