Civil Society Organizations in Turbulent Times

A gilded web?

Paperback / softback, 224 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 May 2017
Trentham Books

Price: £22.99

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Fundamental changes to British social policy have seen civil society organizations assume a significant role in welfare provision, but chasing money and status has come at a high price. What has happened to integrity and morality, when many voluntary service organizations have become trapped in a gilded web of neo-liberal arrangements and a rapidly privatizing services industry? Why are they reinforcing the social, economic and political systems they were originally established to reform?

Drawing on contemporary research conducted in diverse service fields and from varied theoretical frameworks, the book offers vital analysis for people studying and working in civil society organizations, and for those concerned to reawaken the critical voices and independent spaces that could challenge the growing inequalities and failures of current social systems.

  • Linda Milbourne

    Dr Linda Milbourne is a former department head at Birkbeck, University of London and an associate fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, undertaking community-based critical social-policy research.

  • Ursula Murray

    Dr Ursula Murray is a former lecturer and honorary teaching fellow in social policy at Birkbeck, University of London, undertaking research into the political economy of civil society and the public sector.

  • Cate Evans

    Cate Evans has worked in the social housing sector for more than ten years.

  • Truly Johnston

    Truly Johnston is Director of Social Action at Community Southwark.

  • Alexandra Molano-Avilan

    Alexandra Molano-Avilan has worked in NGOs, community resilience, youth participation, and mental health for the past decade.

  • Antony Moore

    Antony Moore is a senior practitioner working for Barnardo's Chilston Service.

  • Wale Olulana

    Wale Olulana is senior pastor at Harmony Christian Ministries, London.

  • Rachel Potts

    Rachel Potts has worked in the UK public and voluntary sectors for some thirty years.

  • Dawn Thorpe

    Dawn Thorpe has worked in learning disabilities advocacy and support in the UK for some twenty-five years.

  • Palmela Witter

    Palmela Witter has some twenty years of managerial experience in schools and youth services.

CONTENTS: Preface; 1. Civil society organizations in turbulent times: Contested terrain, by Linda Milbourne and Ursula Murray; 2. Civil society and neo-liberalism, by Ursula Murray and Linda Milbourne; PART 1. THE STATE OF WELFARE AND THE NEW SERVICE INDUSTRY; 3. Is this the death of social housing? by Cate Evans; 4. Transitions from the statutory to the third sector: The experience of social workers, by Antony Moore; 5. Voluntary organizations and criminal justice: A misguided turn, by Ursula Murray; PART 2. POWER: INDEPENDENCE AND GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING; 6. Marginalizing diverse voices: Working with minority interests against the tide of mainstreaming, by Palmela Witter; 7. The role of faith-based organizations in welfare delivery, by Wale Olulana; 8. Voluntary action: Micro-organizations and infrastructure support, by Truly Johnston; PART 3. SHADOW CONVERSATIONS OF WORKERS; 9. Workers in voluntary organizations: Space for political awareness? by Alexandra Molano-Avilan; 10. Personalization in adult social care: A shadow conversation ignored, by Dawn Thorpe; 11. Less happy more often? Well-being in voluntary service organizations, by Rachel Potts; 12. Dangerous liaisons and spaces for resistance, by Linda Milbourne and Ursula Murray; Appendix; Index

'The book provides ample evidence of the problems of neo-liberalism, as applied in voluntary sector organizations, illustrating the tensions to be faced by those committed to promoting alternative values and commitments. ... This book will be widely welcomed and valued both in Britain and beyond. Highly recommended.'

Marjorie Mayo (2018), 'Civil Society Organizations in Turbulent Times: A gilded web?', OUP Community Development Journal, Issue 2, Volume 53, 405 - 407

'A very important and timely book that contributes to ongoing academic and public debates about the wider purpose of voluntary action in Britain. Written by and for both academics and practitioners, it is an absorbing and highly readable collection that provides valuable insights into the ethical dimensions of voluntary action. It makes a unique contribution to the existing voluntary sector literature by embracing a broader focus on the potential for, and obstacles to, civil society in re-kindling critical voices and creating democratic spaces for collective action. This book will be of interest to a wide audience including academics, students, practitioners, and policymakers.'

Dr Armine Ishkanian, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics

'As the cover to this excellent collection of essays explains, ‘Fundamental changes to British social policy have seen civil society organizations assume a significant role in welfare provision, but chasing money and status have come at a high price. … The research projects blend personal experiences with theoretical insights from the researchers’ engagement with relevant literatures. This is an extraordinarily rich mix, combining scholarship with empathy, rooted in practice, that could provide a model for subsequent studies …This book will be widely welcomed and valued both in Britain and beyond. Highly recommended'.

Marjory Mayo, OUP, Volume 53, Issue 2, 1 April 2018, Pages 405–407

‘This book is required reading for those seriously interested in thinking about the future of civil society in the UK in a post-Brexit, post-Trump world. It makes the case for our need to find spaces for resistance, and poses a stark question: is civil society a consensual glue, or a place for dissenting voices? The contributors to this edited volume draw in their experiences of the voices of those they work with. It is rooted in critical practice but while located in the UK it is not solely of the UK. It invites an international perspective and is all the more thought provoking for that. Do read it!’

Professor John Diamond, Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice, Edge Hill University UK

'This book is a hugely important, critical reflection on the challenges facing civil society organizations in neo-liberal times. Its contributors raise fundamental questions about autonomy, resilience and resistance, and demand the imagination to face them.'

Jon Burnett, Researcher and Assistant Editor, IRR News, Institute of Race Relations

'The editors here have provided us with insights into ideology, integrity, lessons to be learned from history and also ways for restoration of relationships through morality and ethics. Finally, they also look into a reconstruction of spaces for resistance that will allow alignment and creativity as well as spaces for dissent in an effort to continue creating ethical societies and
healthy democracies worldwide.'

Jacqueline Butcher García-Colín, (2018) Voluntas, 29, 1136-1137