Community Co-Production

Community Co-Production

Social Enterprise in Remote and Rural Communities

Edited by Jane Farmer, Carol Hill and Sarah-Anne Muñoz

This book addresses a clutch of contemporary societal challenges including: aging demography and the consequent need for extended care in communities; public service provision in an era of retrenching welfare and global financial crises; service provision to rural communities that are increasingly ‘hollowed out’ through lack of working age people; and, how best to engender the development of community social enterprise organizations capable of providing high quality, accessible services. It is packed with information and evidence garnered from research into the environment for developing community social enterprise and co-producing services; how communities react to being asked to co-produce; what to expect in terms of the social enterprises they can produce; and, how to make them happen.

Chapter 2: Developing Rural Social Enterprise: The Relevance of Context

Sarah Skerratt

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, development studies, development economics, social entrepreneurship, economics and finance, development economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, social policy in emerging countries, urban and regional studies, regional studies, urban studies


Sarah Skerratt CONTEXT MATTERS Contemporary literature around rural community development highlights the contingent role of context in the nature and success of development (Henderson & Vercseg, 2010; Mackleworth & Caric, 2010). Context is experienced at a local level, in terms of social relations (Oldenburg, 1999, 2002; Putnam, 2000; Hailey, 2001; Cleaver, 2004; Davies, 2007, 2009), and also operates ‘vertically’, in that it comprises the policy, legislative and sectoral landscape within which communities operate (Sorensen & Epps, 1996; Gray & Sinclair, 2005). Thus, as Cleaver (2001) contends, to focus solely on communities and their activities would incorrectly abstract them from day-to-day realities, including relations with a range of agencies and stakeholders. Communities, local enterprises and agents thus do not operate in a vacuum; rather, initiatives are often dependent on external directions and options. Research into the capitals of development (Flora et al, n.d.) highlights that political and bridging social capital are required – that is, individuals and communities need to know how to relate to those outside of their immediate sphere in order to shift their development trajectory (O’Brien et al, 1991, 1998). Rural leadership research (Sorensen & Epps, 1996; Gray & Sinclair, 2005; Skerratt, 2011) also points to the need for successful communities and leaders to acknowledge and work with wider relationships beyond the immediate locale. Given this context it is important that analyses of community-level activity development, including the building of (formal and informal) organisations for service delivery such as in the O4O: Older People For Older People project (that aimed to work with older people...

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