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Landscapes of voluntarismNew spaces of health, welfare and governance$
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Christine Milligan and David Conradson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861346322

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861346322.001.0001

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A ‘new institutional fix’? The ‘community turn’ and the changing role of the voluntary sector

A ‘new institutional fix’? The ‘community turn’ and the changing role of the voluntary sector

(p.15) Two A ‘new institutional fix’? The ‘community turn’ and the changing role of the voluntary sector
Landscapes of voluntarism

Rob Macmillan

Alan Townsend

Policy Press

This chapter explores how policies for regenerating deprived areas and tackling different aspects of social exclusion in the UK have taken a ‘community turn’ which embraces an enhanced role for the voluntary and community sector. It discusses three major tools of the ‘community turn’ at local level, i.e., governance, partnership and capacity building, to explore how relationships between local government and voluntary organisations are being reshaped. One key to the ‘community turn’ is that central government found from experience that its spending on regeneration activity proved wasted if the local community were not thoroughly involved. Local community activists involved in such decision making may be working with larger voluntary organisations, local government, and the private sector. It argues that the emergence of an enhanced role for the sector can fruitfully be seen as part of an attempted ‘institutional fix’ in a broader project to restructure the postwar welfare state in an era of fiscal constraint. The chapter concludes by considering the broader geographical consequences of the ‘community turn’ for voluntarism and for the changing ‘postnational’ welfare state. It is suggested that the ‘community turn’ involves specific constructions of space, scale and temporality, which not only have important consequences for the shape and structure of the emerging welfare state, but also for the construction of a differentiated voluntary and community sector.

Keywords:   community turn, institutional fix, UK, governance, partnership, capacity building, voluntarism, welfare state, space, scale, temporality

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