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Contemporary social evils$
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Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424099

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424099.001.0001

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Individualism and community: investing in civil society

Individualism and community: investing in civil society

(p.169) 14 Individualism and community: investing in civil society
Contemporary social evils

Stephen Thake

Policy Press

This chapter deals with an entirely new approach to the development of civil society, recognising that its form and shape in the twenty-first century will be different from the institutions that Joseph Rowntree knew in 1904. Stronger civil society is also identified as an essential part of any attempt to counter the current loss of social solidarity and retreat into protective individualism. Then, it is suggested that the government's role should be to invest in grassroots activity and foster an expanding role for social enterprises in delivering public services. The benefits and costs of change are discussed. The actions of individuals, solidarities and agencies need to be congruent with, and contribute to, harnessing scientific and technological advance to positive ends. By investing in communal activity, local support networks are created and points of reference between the state and the individual are established.

Keywords:   individualism, community, civil society, social solidarity, social enterprises, public services

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