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Power, politics and networks: shaping partnerships for sustainable communities

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The emergence of environmental governance for sustainable development as a field of inquiry has stimulated a plethora of research into new formations for governing the environment. Partnerships hold an exalted status in these formations, but there has been surprisingly little evaluative work of their activities. This paper extends that embryonic analysis through empirical consideration of a partnership established to foster the development of sustainable communities, specifically by stimulating greater public participation in positive environmental activities. Theoretical insights about patterns of power, perceived authority and legitimacy in the partnership are developed through a consideration of ‘actor–spaces’ and the ‘sociology of translation’ that emerge from actor–network theory.

Keywords: UK; actor-networks; environmental policy; partnership; sustainable communities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Trinity College, Dublin

Publication date: June 1, 2002


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