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“It’s us, you know, there’s a feeling of community”: Exploring notions of social sustainability in a consumer co-operative

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Business Ethics
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - 21 Aug 2019
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)617-635
Early online date28/11/17
Original languageEnglish


The notion of community infers unity and a source of moral obligations in an organisational ethic between individuals or groups. As such, a community, having a strong sense of collective identity, may foster collective action to promote social change for the betterment of society. This research critically explores notions of community through analysing discursive identity construction practices within a member owned urban consumer co-operative (CC) public house in the UK. A strong sense of community is an often-claimed CC characteristic. The paper’s main contributions stem from using the lens of identity work to critically unpack the notion of community through highlighting paradoxical tensions of community residing within CCs. The findings reveal that the notion of community may be illusionary with counter-veiling forces, one that reflects a more traditional sense of connection, attachment and communion, and the other of boundaries, disconnection or division. As these repertoires collide, tensions are evident between the hegemonic discourse of neoliberal managerialism and that of democratic collective ownership. Despite these individual level tensions, communities may operate within boundaries enabling an organisational and societal ethic, beyond the individual.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Community, Consumer co-operative, Discourse analysis, Identity, Public house, Symbolic boundaries, Tensions

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