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Social capital and new localism: a comparitive study of two parish councils

Darien, Lindsey Elizabeth Olivia (2012) Social capital and new localism: a comparitive study of two parish councils. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86483) (KAR id:86483)


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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Sakwa, Richard
Thesis advisor: Saalfeld, Thomas
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86483
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:54 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2021 11:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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