Community or demos?
The Community Workers’ Co-operative
in Asymmetric engagement
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This chapter starts by examining the origins and outlook of the Community Workers' Co-operative (CWC, the Co-op) in the early 1980s, highlighting its focus on community empowerment, which informed its practice over subsequent years. It focuses on the Co-op's shift from critique to engagement and negotiation by the CWC with government. The chapter reviews the process of becoming a social partner and the Co-op's initiation of the Community Platform, which it hoped would be recognised by government and the existing social partners as the community sector social partner. It deals with the implications for the Co-op of prosperity after 1997. The CWC distinguished between the self-organising community sector and the traditionally philanthropic 'voluntary sector'. The Co-op stressed the importance to democracy of a tension between dissenting communities and representative government.

Asymmetric engagement

The Community and Voluntary Pillar In Irish social partnership

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