Report No. 3: Tea in the Pot: Building ‘social capital’ or a ‘great good place’ in Govan?
This report focuses on a women’s organisation in Govan called Tea in the Pot (TITP). The report is written in two parts, which can be read more or less separately. The first part presents research, designed and conducted by Maria Feeney, which examined the role of TITP in serving the needs of its local community. It considers TITP in light of Ray Oldenburg’s concept of the ‘third place’ as a ‘great good place’. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with the women at TITP, it is suggested that TITP can be thought of as having ‘improvised’ a ‘third place’ in Govan, which has brought significant benefits to its members and to its wider community – on the basis of very limited resources. The second part raises the need for a viable common language which can allow local communities, policy makers, practitioners, NGOs, academics, etc. to speak together and to act together in confronting the problems in local communities. Drawing on the case study of TITP, it challenges the appropriateness of the language of ‘social capital’ which has been so prominent over the past decade and a half, and argues that a viable common language must be connected to the real history and experience of local communities. The report is a timely and challenging contribution to the debate amongst those who share the UWS-Oxfam Partnership’s aspiration for ‘a more equitable and sustainable Scotland’.