Essential, complex and multi-form: the local leadership of civil society from an Anglo-Italian perspective

Pagani, Michela; Sancino, Alessandro and Budd, Leslie (2020). Essential, complex and multi-form: the local leadership of civil society from an Anglo-Italian perspective. Voluntary Sector Review (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/204080520X15902277850841

Abstract

Individuals and organisations within civil society play a crucial role in our cities, but little direct research has been carried out on their leadership role. By employing a place-based leadership approach, this paper aims to identify the leaders of civil society in two cities, one in Italy (Padua) and one in the UK (Peterborough). We draw our results from 34 interviews held with city leaders. Our findings highlight important similarities between the two cities, such as the fundamental function of umbrella organisations and the influence of faith leaders. We discuss the multi-form character of the leaders of civil society as acting within three main spheres of city leadership: third/voluntary sector, community, and faith, as highlighted by the participants in this study. We also find that civil society exercises the key leadership role of intermediary between citizens and government in public services delivery and in enabling community voice from different publics.

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