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Voluntary sector in transitionHard times or new opportunities?$
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Linda Milbourne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427236

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427236.001.0001

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Advocacy and Democratic Participation in a Changing Environment: Room for Challenge?

Advocacy and Democratic Participation in a Changing Environment: Room for Challenge?

(p.179) Eight Advocacy and Democratic Participation in a Changing Environment: Room for Challenge?
Voluntary sector in transition

Linda Milbourne

Policy Press

Successive governments have turned to voluntary sector organisations to address concerns about civic and civil participation and this chapter examines voluntary sector advocacy work. The chapter focuses first on the changing emphases of advocacy activities and identifies growing constraints on independent action, comparing examples from international research with trends in the UK. It considers different purposes and approaches to advocacy, including supporting individuals, groups and services; and activities designed to bring about wider changes or to promote self-help. It draws on a series of examples from empirical study to explore these approaches and recent challenges, assessing the pressures of resource dependency. However, despite policy priorities to promote wider citizen engagement in shaping local decisions, it appears that advocacy strategies increasingly adopt ‘insider’ methods to gain success. This trend inevitably marginalises groups with limited resources and those campaigning differently for more exigent changes. The chapter questions whether this signals a co-option of VS advocates with advocacy activity narrowing in scope but gaining impact within a limited domain. However, it argues the intrinsically political nature of advocacy work and considers spaces available for pursuing and sustaining diverse advocacy goals.

Keywords:   Community engagement, Empowerment, Campaign, Youth participation, Self-help, Citizenship, Neo-liberal, Insider tactic, Localism

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