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Change and the practices of actors in civil society: towards an interpretivist exploration of agency in third sector scholarship

Acheson, Nick (2014) Change and the practices of actors in civil society: towards an interpretivist exploration of agency in third sector scholarship. Voluntary Sector Review:, 5 (3). [Journal article]

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URL: http://www.policypress.co.uk/journals_vsr.asp?

DOI: 10.1332/204080514X14150181037122

Abstract

A profound reshaping of the relationship between the third sector and state and non-state actors in the new welfare spaces after the economic crash poses questions about how these spaces are co-constructed by actors within them. Third sector scholarship has typically sought to address these questions as if third sector organisations were injured parties being compelled to adapt to survive, and this is matched by a lack of theoretical and empirical attention to the active role played by third sector organisations in constructing these spaces. This article offers a critique of a third sector paradigm for being too rooted in rational actor and historical institutionalism, too focused on organisational adaptation to existing norms and too passive. It argues for a radically decentred interpretivist methodology that will capture the intense struggle over meaning that constitutes civil society and in which third sector narratives are themselves rhetorical weapons.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:third sector • agency • interpretivism • institutionalism
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Social Work & Social Policy
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:30559
Deposited By: Dr Nicholas Acheson
Deposited On:18 Nov 2014 22:14
Last Modified:18 Nov 2014 22:14

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