All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Wendy Gunther-Canada

Advisory Committee Members

Angela K Lewis

Akhlaque Haque

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Public Administration (MPA) College of Arts and Sciences


Disenfranchised communities often face exclusion at the hands of outside organizations trying to assist. Citizens within the community are excluded and left with few means of actively participating in the conversation and development surrounding these communities. This paper takes the position that the imbalance of power dynamics, where citizens become subjects, does not fully utilize the potential of those inside and those from outside the community. As discussed in Chapter 1, utilizing social capital to build networks and integrate insider and outsider organizations and resources will ultimately create optimization. Chapter 2 uncovers historical examples of civic life and a new perspective of the politics-administration dichotomy, drawing from the works and examples of Alexis de Tocqueville, Jane Addams, and Camilla Stivers. Chapter 2 then introduces theories of local collaborative action: small-world networks, social capital as an equity issue, Asset-Based Community Development, and Collective Impact. It concludes with a few points on collaborative partnerships. Chapter 3 discusses the demographics of Fairfield, Alabama, as well as historical factors influencing the city and region. Chapter 4 introduces the theory and methods of a community survey of Fairfield organizations, loosely based upon the five indicators of Collective Impact, and discusses results and implications by question. Concluding remarks emphasize the necessity of acknowledging and measuring informal social connections at the community level as a means of fostering greater civic liberty and participation at the local level.



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