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Valuing third sector sustainability organisations - qualitative contributions to systemic social transformation


Lyth, A and Baldwin, C and Davison, A and Fidelman, P and Booth, K and Osborne, C, Valuing third sector sustainability organisations - qualitative contributions to systemic social transformation, Local Environment, 22, (1) pp. 1-21. ISSN 1354-9839 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/13549839.2016.1149457


The number and diversity of civil society or third sector sustainability organisations (TSSOs) has increased in recent decades. TSSOs play a prominent role in local approaches to sustainability. However, the contributions made by TSSOs are not fully understood, beyond a limited suite of quantifiable outputs and impacts. In this qualitative study we examine how four TSSOs from two Australian regions, Tasmania and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, contribute to social transformation beyond discrete outputs. We examine the operation, ethos, scope and influence of these organisations over time. In so doing, we identify three common ways in which these organisations facilitate social change: by i) enhancing social connectivity through boundary work; ii) mobilizing participatory citizenship; and iii) contributing to social learning. We conclude that TSSOs contribute significantly to the systemic social conditions that enable change for sustainability and the development of community resilience and wellbeing, but do so in ways undervalued by existing metrics, formal evaluation processes and funding models. Clearer recognition of, and strategic emphasis on, these qualitative contributions to social transformation is vital in ensuring that TSSOs remain viable and effective over the long-term.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:third sector organisations, sustainability, social transformation, community resilience
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Sustainability indicators
UTAS Author:Lyth, A (Dr Anna Lyth)
UTAS Author:Davison, A (Associate Professor Aidan Davison)
UTAS Author:Booth, K (Associate Professor Kate Booth)
ID Code:106347
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2016-02-05
Last Modified:2017-11-21

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