Resilience and Empowerment during Austerity: An Exploratory, Experiential Study within Communities in Gloucestershire

Child-Evans, James (2018) Resilience and Empowerment during Austerity: An Exploratory, Experiential Study within Communities in Gloucestershire. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) had embarked on a process of change. Reductions in public sector funding, increases in the numbers of vulnerable people and the need to save money across its services were outlined within its 2015 strategy ‘Meeting the Challenge 2 - ‘Together We Can’. The principle aims of the research were to develop a different relationship between GCC and communities - to enable them to become more resilient and empowered. The research used multiple methodological approaches to explore the personal and political meanings of empowerment and resilience during this period of change. The approach was novel and unique in this area, utilised to explore the experiences of individuals within those communities. This included Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, to investigate the experiences of participants (Elected councillors, Council Officers, Voluntary Sector employees, Volunteers, Carers) living and working in Gloucestershire, and Discourse Analysis which focussed on the role and impact of language. The findings of the research reflected an iterative and interpretative cycle, highlighting key findings in the convergence and divergence of meaning in terms of community, empowerment and resilience. This was categorised and developed through four distinct but overlapping themes of ‘Problems, Power, Identity and Relationships’. For all of the processes, policies, regulations and progress articulated in the discourse and encountered in experience, participants often described empowerment as a simple awareness of others and confidence to act in a more open and transparent way. Resilience, understood through practices of coping with the state system and its behaviours could help to recover or rediscover the nature of the relationship with communities. Yet regardless of the context, there appeared to be recurrent patterns of behaviour on both sides. ‘Recovery’, a concept encompassing both empowerment and resilience is proposed by the thesis as a key framework for developing future practice, policy and research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Austerity; Public sector funding; Community; Voluntary sector; Empowerment; Resilience; Gloucestershire County Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 13:18
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 14:38

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