This research project explores the concept of ‘agency’ in the context of sustainable community development and the involvement of citizens in achieving social change and social innovation in their communities around community development issues. The concept of agency is normally understood as a noun – a team or structure of people performing specific tasks for a specific purpose Barber, 2001. However, according to Bhaskar (1994) it can also be a verb, describing an action or process that results in a new ‘state of affairs’. This notion of agency can be held either by individuals or groups. Agency in this context, therefore, refers to an individual, an organization, networks or a community that can enact a process that drives change – either in the context of an individual who effects change within a community or a group that collectively does the same. It is our assumption that the presence or absence of agency is the key indicator of a group's ability to respond and identify cohesive solutions to sustainable development challenges (Newman and Dale, 2005).
Community Development Journal