Asymmetric engagement

The Community and Voluntary Pillar In Irish social partnership

Author: Joe Larragy

This book explores the unique and problematic entity known as the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP) in the institutional context of Irish social partnership and the changing political and economic environment over time. It reviews existing theoretical accounts of Irish social pacts with reference to the role or significance of the CVP, and explores new theoretical perspectives that might contribute to a better understanding of the CVP. The book then details empirical investigation of the origins and facets of the CVP through the study of the most pivotal associations in it. It shows that the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) refused to be incorporated and maintained a great degree of independence over the course of its engagement. The NWCI played a successful defensive role in Partnership 2000 (1996) in relation to threats to tax child benefit. Later, a more significant achievement of the NWCI was the early childcare supplement introduced in 2006, which stemmed from recommendations the NWCI had made as early as 1997. The book also considers the development of a distinct and original account of the dynamics of the CVP, termed 'asymmetric engagement'. It explains how small organisations have operated in social partnership, amid the warp and weft of political and economic cycles and shifts in the demos.

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