Hi John / All,
I'm not sure if the following references cover all of the territory in which you are interested (and of course you may already have come across them), but it sounds as if you are looking in part for critiques of the idea of social capital and of voluntarism / localism as supposed solutions to longstanding social and political problems.
For an excellent critique of much of the thinking and research in the field of voluntary / charitable action and of ill thought out government 'anti-poverty' programmes
Epstein, W. (2002) American Policy Making: Welfare as Ritual. Boulder. Rowman and Littlefield.
Epstein, W. (2010) Democracy without Decency: Good Citizenship and the War on Poverty. Pennsylvania. Penn State University Press.
Epstein is writing from an almost entirely American perspective, but his basic arguments are relevant to the British scene, particularly in the context of the 'Big Society'.
For strong critiques of social capital both as social science and as a covert right wing ideology , see...
McLean, S. and Schultz, D. and Steger, M. (2002) (Editors) Critical Perspectives on Community and "Bowling Alone". New York. New York University Press.
Fine, B (2010) Theories of Social Capital. Researchers Behaving Badly. London. Pluto.
I hope that this helps.
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> Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 10:58:48 +0000
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Critiques of the Big society
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Apologies in advance as this has probably been discussed and I've missed
> it. I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of
> critiques around the Big Society concept (such as it is). Specifically
> around the balance of what should be held by the state and what should
> be held by other sectors and also the need for the state as a way of
> stimulating voluntary activity.
> Many thanks in advance.
> John McGowan
> The Community Psychology List has a new website/blog at:
> There is a threaded discussion forum:
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> To post on the website blog, forum or twitter feed, contact Grant or David at the email addresses below.
> David Fryer ([log in to unmask]
) or Grant Jeffrey ([log in to unmask]
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