The theoretical context
in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
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This chapter looks at various theoretical discussions about the meaning of democracy, political participation and civic engagement, social capital, community, civil society and public value. Social and political changes do not simply happen, but need an agency to drive them. For D. Beetham, the agency that best fits the bill is the political party. The social capital has the potential to shape and enhance formal political participation and broader forms of civic engagement. In the UK context, at one end of the scale the social capital might include some women's groups and groups made up of specific ethnic identities. At the other end of the scale we might include the Freemasons and golf clubs with high membership fees. Linked to the concepts of social capital and community is the idea of civil society. The discussion of public value relates directly to notions of civic engagement and community.

Local democracy, civic engagement and community

From New Labour to the Big Society


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