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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Dr Andrew J. Russell

Heckler, S. & Russell, A. (2008). Emotional Engagement in Strategic Partnerships: grassroots organising in a tobacco control partnership in the North East of England. Evidence and Policy 4(4): 331-354.

Author(s) from Durham


Multi-agency partnerships are often regarded as crucial for the planning and delivery of public health initiatives. A number of evaluative frameworks stress governance, structure and management as the fundamental factors contributing to partnership success. However, ethnographic research into the multi-agency partnership that sets the strategic direction for tobacco control in the North East of England revealed emotional engagement and positive personal relationships, factors that have largely been overlooked in the relevant literature, to be more important. The partnership coordinators have successfully used a model developed by grassroots organisers in the international tobacco control movement to create an environment where positive affect and mutual liking develop and underpin a dynamic and productive partnership. In some cases, this grassroots model directly contradicts the advice of partnership tools and analyses, but has proved highly effective in engaging with professionals.