Community and mutual ownership: a historical review

Tom Woodin et al.

The history of 'community and mutual ownership' and the implications for policy and practice in this area

Policy-makers have identified that community and mutual ownership can make a significant contribution to the economy, welfare and society more generally. A historical analysis of social change can inform contemporary understanding, policy and practice.

This study:

  • adopts a broad definition of 'community and mutual' as a way of exploring the history of ownership;
  • identifies five models: customary and common, community, co-operative and mutual, charitable, and municipal and state forms of ownership;
  • argues that systematic and values-based approaches are needed to develop community and mutual ownership to respond to current social problems;
  • notes that time is needed to develop democracy, membership and belonging, all factors that have been historically important to the success of community and mutual ownership.


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