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Type: Thesis
Title: The place of community in a community organisation : negotiating relationships in the third sector
Author: Carey, Gemma
Issue Date: 2007
School/Discipline: School of Population Health
Abstract: Community-based and non-government organisations are the subject of increasing academic debate. Although they are now understood to be an integral part of our social and political system as the third sector, separate from the government and market sectors' how these organisations will realise their critical potential and overcome practical and theoretical challenges is largely unexplored' This thesis draws on qualitative research conducted with workers at a hepatitis C community-based organisation - the Oliver Smith Council. The thesis provides an actororientated account of the complexities and challenges of working in the third sector as it stands between civil society and the state. It examines two interrelated concepts that are important for the positioning of the organisation: understandings of 'community' in the organisation, and experiences of spatialþ of the organisation. At the Oliver Smith Council the work and space of the organisation had become increasingly contested. Changes in size, location and internal policy had resulted in tensions and debates within the organisation with regard to how the Council would endeavour to continue to work with communþ, and what objectives, functions and roles are fundamental to the Council being a 'community-based' organisation in the third sector. Workers had a sense of shifting spaces of their organisation; many were concerned that the organisation was losing its grounding in civil society and the third sector and becoming too closely aligned with the state. In particular, workers were concerned that there was no longer a place for community within the walls of the organisation. These concerns manifested themselves in workers' concerns about how the Council worked with its community groups, and the types of organisational space it occupied. Through exploring the praxis of the Oliver Smith Council in this thesis,I examine how and why working in the third sector is complex and, attimes, difficult. I argue that the tensions and concerns experienced by Council workers relate to the organisation's, and the third sector,s, positioning between civil society and the state. In addition to enhancing our understanding of the third sector and its complexities, this thesis is also aimed at assisting workers at the Oliver Smith Council to make sense of the debates and tensions within their organisation.
Advisor: Braunack-Mayer, Annette
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MMSc) -- University of Adelaide, School of Population Health, 2007
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