Community wealth building or local authority rhetoric?

Morag E. Redwood, Anne M.J. Smith*, Artur Steiner, Geoff Whittam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


We examine the principles, purpose and practice of Community Wealth Building (CWB). Our case study, located in the UK, involves a Local Authority (LA), local community groups and local people, and the implementation of a CWB initiative by the LA. Action research enabled us to scrutinise the LA approach to the CWB initiative in terms of community engagement and consultation. We identified power and control tensions in relationships between the LA and different community groups (including local development trusts) that undermine the theoretical principles of CWB. Examination of these issues through a Bourdieuvian lens reveals the role played by power relations and highlights the need for ‘practical reflexivity’ in any community engagement process especially where institutions are at risk of misinterpreting how CWB might be accomplished in practice. Our study contributes a reflexivity model of CWB for purpose and practice, grounded in ethics, fairness and inclusion, and is of significance to LA initiatives claiming a CWB mission, vision and strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-621
Number of pages20
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2023


  • community wealth building
  • community engagement
  • social relations of power
  • Bourdieu
  • reflexivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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