Aims and justification (another go)

It’s still not nicely written, but I think I am starting to bring together more of my ideas. I’ve just got no idea how I can claim the data will be able to be so wide ranging.

Community is being promoted as a rational investment for individuals and governments. This project is concerned with practice – what actually happens – in a way that contrasts with evaluations directed at assessing pre-determined outcomes.

The Victorian and Australian governments are promoting agendas of social inclusion and localism in response to research demonstrating place based disadvantage. Community and social capital are reinterpreted as goods that governments should seek to provide through a range of measurable outcomes. This is occurring through, and alongside, the expansion of economic measures of wellbeing (Mitchell 2010) and the associated growth in literature on the (economic and wellbeing) value of social equality (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009).

This research seeks to explore whether social inclusion, social capital and community exist within, and whether or not these schemas mean anything to the people who live in, a suburb which could be classified as a ‘place where people want to live’*. This will be done though a focus on ‘investments’, taken to be the decision to put something in with the aim of getting something out later. More specifically, data will be gathered on what individuals and parties have to invest (time, money, skills), where and what this is invested in, what the hoped, expected and actual outcomes are, and what are the factors that influence the feasibility of these outcomes. Data generated through participant observation field work and interviews provides the opportunity to explore not just what is happening, but also what it means to the people who live in the area.

Such data can be used to assess critiques of the policy applications of ‘community’ (e.g. Bryson and Mowbray 2005) and social capital (e.g. Carpiano 2006), this research seeks to understand if place as the basis for belonging to community provides resistance to individualism, or if community and social capital can be used to devolve risk and shore up the neoliberal project.

* “Liveable communities are places where people want to live. They
have good local facilities and services, economic and social
activities, a diverse and sustainable natural environment, affordable
housing, and a sense of safety and security where rights are protected
and diversity is welcomed.” A Fairer Victoria 2010 Pg 70


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s