Informed, engaged and empowered? : A thicker description of community participation in the setting of coastal adaptation policy in England and Wales

Blunkell, Christopher Thomas (2014) Informed, engaged and empowered? : A thicker description of community participation in the setting of coastal adaptation policy in England and Wales. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

In the early part of the 21st century, decisions not to defend parts of the coastline of England and Wales, with homes expected to be lost uncompensated, were contentious. Academic literature encourages further consideration of how people in such locations organise themselves to influence policy, and the function of social class in this regard. This study suggests that there are limits to the influence that can be exerted on policy in this way, and that larger, better resourced and better-socially-connected communities are more inclined and able to organise as effective action groups. However, limits to influence are also due to deliberative structures and processes that can marginalise local concerns and representations. The subject is approached through literature review and three case studies of policy setting and collective action - two at local level, for purposes of comparison, and one of a national lobby group and its engagement with central government. At local level, differences in approaches taken to the formation of coalitions with institutions and other groups are particularly evident. Sustained collective action can result in influence; however, local concerns are not always articulated publicly, and do not always result in collective action. The business of grassroots action falls typically to very few people with significant costs for them, and such arrangements can feed official concerns around representative legitimacy. Overall, coastal planning exercises do not appear to satisfy the main tenet of 'localism' - that citizens should be given power over decisions that affect them. Many coastal communities may require support in order to participate effectively, and policy owners must avoid privileging the preferences of the ‘usual suspects’. This may not be sufficient, however, given contention over the orthodoxy that losses resulting from decisions not to defend are borne significantly by individuals.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: coastal zone management (citizen participation); English coastline; Welsh coastline; England; Wales; coastal planning; community organization; collective behavior; social action
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 330 Economics
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 06 May 2016 13:59
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 16:03


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