Exploring Conceptualisations and Enactments of ‘Community’ Within the Big Local Programme (PhD project)

Conceptualisations of cummunity

Conceptualisations of cummunity


The notion of ‘community’ has an established presence in social and health policy.  In the past couple of decades, ‘community’ has been implicated in numerous policy initiatives targeting the socio-economic determinants of health inequalities, frequently through the processes of ‘community engagement’ in the planning and/or implementation of programmes.  However, academic reviews of community programmes indicate very little conclusive evidence of the impact of such initiatives on the determinants of health and inequalities, and these reviews rarely acknowledge the ambiguity and plasticity of the concept of “community” itself.  The way in which community is conceptualised, operationalised and interpreted within the delivery of such programmes is likely to influence how its role in bringing about change to determinants of health can be understood and evaluated, and should therefore be explored.


Jo is a Research Degree Student funded through SPHR@L, and is exploring how ‘community’ is enacted around a community-based intervention to help inform approaches for evaluating the impact of complex community interventions on health inequalities. She has a background in public health and social anthropology.


Fieldwork for this research was conducted between April 2014 and March 2015, and analysis is underway.


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