Retrieving The Big Society
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Retrieving The Big Society

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Retrieving the Big Society presents a collection of essays that challenge the view of Britain s Big Society as a political gimmick and recognise it as an alternative to the central state in social and economic governance. Offers an original and critical take on the idea of the Big Society Attempts to make sense of the Big Society by placing in the context of the history of localism, mutualism, and voluntarism Features contributions by experts on British politics and political theory
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Product details

  • Paperback | 196 pages
  • 171 x 244 x 10mm | 330g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 1118368789
  • 9781118368787
  • 2,324,257

Back cover copy

Ever since the formation of Britain's coalition government in 2010, talk of the "Big Society" has dominated political discussion. Retrieving the Big Society features a collection of essays contributed by top political theorists and policy experts that challenge the commonplace view of the Big Society as a politically motivated ploy filled with empty rhetoric. Instead, the contributors recognise the policy's significance as a serious attempt to think through an alternative to the central state in social and economic governance. Essays reveal how the Big Society occupies an important place in an often marginalized history of ideas concerning localism, mutualism, and voluntarism in British politics. But what is the relationship of the Big Society to this history of ideas? Does it represent a distinctively new synthesis of liberalism and conservatism, an entrenchment of the neo-liberal project, or is it simply a return to Tory romanticism? And to what extent are the ideas behind the Big Society realisable as an effective program of government? Addressing each of these topics with an objectivity often lacking in contemporary political discussions, Retrieving the Big Society offers original critical insights into a central idea in 21st-century governance.
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Table of contents

Notes on Contributors Introduction: Retrieving the Big Society (JASON EDWARDS) 1. The Big Society in Question (MAURICE GLASMAN and JESSE NORMAN) 2. Red or Orange: The Big Society in the New Conservatism (PAUL KELLY) 3. Cameron, Culture and the Creative Class: The Big Society and the Post-Bureaucratic Age (ALAN FINLAYSON) 4. Big Societies, Little Platoons and the Problems with Pluralism (RODNEY BARKER) 5. Servile State or Discredited State: Some Historical Antecedents of Current Big Society Debates (JOSE HARRIS) 6. Tocqueville and the Big Society (JEREMY JENNINGS) 7. The Big Society and Conservative Politics: Back to the Future or Forward to the Past? (ALAN WARE) 8. Freedom, Free Institutions and the Big Society (JASON EDWARDS) 9. From Burke to Burkha: Conservatism, Multiculturalism and the Big Society (RICHARD KELLY and ROBERT CROWCROFT) 10. The Big Society: Post-Bureaucratic Social Policy in the Twenty-first Century? (BENJAMIN WILLIAMS) 11. Free Schools: Big Society or Small Interests? (ADAM LEEDER and DEBORAH MABBETT) 12. The Big Society and the Mutualisation of Public Services: A Critical Commentary (JOHNSTON BIRCHALL) 13. Beginning the Big Society in the Early Years (LOUISE BAMFIELD) Index
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Review Text

"It is well worth a read." ( The Journal ofSocial Policy , 1 October 2013)
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Review quote

It is well worth a read. (The Journal of Social Policy, 1 October 2013)
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About Jason Edwards

Jason Edwards is Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck, University of London. Dr. Edwards is also Director of the B.A. Programme in Politics and Government, Co-Director of Birkbeck Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, and has written widely on the history of political thought, contemporary political theory, and British politics.
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