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Abstract only
Leslie Huckfield

Details of the author’s use of Critical Realism and appropriate procedures for the avoidance of bias and distortion on account of his personal involvement. Patterns or demi-regularities are traced, leading to abduction and retroduction, thus enabling movement beyond rational choice explanations to identify a political and economic structure as a relevant causal mechanism. Description of research design and methods used, including interview sampling and a programme of interviews and ethics procedures governing interviews, data collection, a focus group of key players, including interviewee anonymity and approval of transcripts.

in How Blair killed the co-ops
Abstract only
Leslie Huckfield

Social enterprise structures are unable to maintain their values in a changed funding environment and academic contributions have failed to analyse the social economy as a means to advance alternative forms of local economic democracy. In a major paradigm shift, social enterprise and the wider third sector have been institutionalised as a neoliberal agent for public service delivery, increasingly based on social investment, with a shift from politics to practical solutions. They are now part of the welfare state and no longer necessarily considered as critical to democracy or economic development. UK social enterprises are now fragmented, small and undercapitalised and unable to meet social welfare expectations, with public and social values replaced by value for money and cost of delivery. Further research is needed on the effects of increasing participation in procurement competitions by social enterprises and third sector organisations, which through their dependence on contract funding are being hollowed out. Alternative future policies are suggested including Public Social Partnerships, funding for local economic democracy and public innovation funds for public and third sector partnerships. A new funding focus is needed on community energy, recycling and local co-operative development in an endeavour to restore local economic and social democracy to form the basis of a UK social economy.

in How Blair killed the co-ops
Abstract only
Leslie Huckfield

Apart from strong influence from North America there has been excessive reliance in many UK contributions on the interpretation of social enterprise by the EMES Research Network. The EMES WISE model descends from third sector structures which have traditionally delivered public services in many European countries. These marketised models now form a dominant discourse for an EMES emphasis on market models, which for the UK has meant the marginalisation and neglect of other mainland European contributions on the wider social economy. Mainland EU governments and EU third sector organisations have pressed for EU funding to supplement Active Labour Market Policies (ALMP), for which Christian Democrat governments faced funding difficulties. Many UK contributions show limited knowledge of ALMP funding and the politics of Christian Democracy so that pressure from the third sector for welfare reform and EU funding has been omitted from many other UK contributions. All this has contributed to further misunderstandings about the EMES WISE model. Further UK misunderstanding may arise through UK exclusion under Thatcher and Major governments from Jacques Delors’ initial projects as President of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995 to progress an EU Social Chapter. This exclusion may have contributed to some UK contributions’ underestimation of the significance of EU member states and the third sector seeking EU funds. The UK has never recovered lost ground after exclusion from these initial discussions.

in How Blair killed the co-ops
Reclaiming social enterprise from its neoliberal turn

Social enterprise and third sector activity have mushroomed into a prolific area of academic research and discourse over the past 20 years, with many claiming their origins rooted in Blair, New Labour and Giddens’ ‘Third Way’. But many academic contributions lack experience of policy implementation and do not access the wealth of grey, legacy and public policy literature from earlier periods which supports different interpretations. Since most make few references to developments during the 1970s and 1980s, their narrow focus on New Labour from 1997 onwards not only neglects real antecedents, but miscasts the role of social enterprise.

Adopting a Critical Realist approach, the author had access to previously unused hardcopy documents from archives and collections and interviewed key players and key actors between 1998 and 2002, when major social enterprise and third sector policy changes occurred.

During a key political period from 1998 to 2002, Blair’s New Labour governments forced through a major conceptual shift for social enterprise, co-operative and third sector activity. Many structures, formed as community responses to massive deindustrialisation in the 1970s and 1980s, were repositioned to bid against the private sector to obtain contracts for delivery of low-cost public services.

Other UK academic contributions draw parallels with North American individual social entrepreneurs or rely excessively on interpretations from L’Emergence de l’Entreprise Sociale en Europe (EMES) Research Network, which prioritises a marketised version of “work integration social enterprises” (WISEs).

So the restoration of political and economic democracy has been denied to many local communities.

Full text access
Leslie Huckfield

Introduction, explaining chapters and the author’s questioning of the dominant academic interpretations of UK social enterprise policy development. Initial overview of themes throughout book, including other academic contributions’ undue reliance on North American and mainland European marketised structures, their neglect of previous UK indigenous structures and failure to synchronise voluntary, community and social enterprise developments, the political and economic significance of New Labour’s policy shift from co-operatives to social enterprise, the unreported role of academic and third sector policy entrepreneurs and the reality of social enterprise policy driven by third sector organisations themselves.

in How Blair killed the co-ops
Leslie Huckfield

New Labour governments presided over a major political rupture with the Co-operative Movement, which is not described elsewhere. Labour discarded democratic, co-operative and mutual structures in favour of individually controlled social enterprises which could be used for flexible, low-cost public service delivery. Interviews with key players show these tensions laid bare in ways which other commentators have missed. In a major political difference between the Labour and Co-operative Movements through a shift to looser definitions for the third sector, New Labour’s policy change was as significant as its abandonment of its 1918 Clause IV of the Party’s Constitution in 1995. New Labour sought to transpose 1970s and 1980s social enterprises and local community organisations within a strategy to reduce public expenditure. Because the democratic accountability of earlier co-operative, mutual and community structures would have limited their acceptance of repositioning and changed roles, New Labour encouraged new legal structures with reduced accountability. Other contributions have underestimated the significance of this shift away from common ownership structures promoted by the Industrial Common Ownership Movement (ICOM) as the genuine antecedents of today’s social enterprises. The inauguration of Social Enterprise London, the Social Enterprise Coalition, the DTI Social Enterprise Unit and legislation and proposals between 1998 and 2002 formed a basis for UK social enterprise policy for the next twenty years.

in How Blair killed the co-ops
Leslie Huckfield

Analysis of UK academic contributions which rely on North American nonprofit models and an interpretation of market-oriented Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) from mainland Europe. Through their exclusion of significant French, mainland European and Canadian literatures on a wider social economy, UK discourses on social enterprise and third sector development have been dominated by the market. UK contributions rarely mention earlier social and solidarity economy approaches to deindustrialisation, job losses and the development of third sector policy elsewhere, including French Regulationist and social solidarity approaches from organisations like CIRIEC from the 1970s onwards. Since these approaches and interpretations were contemporaneous with the growth of UK community indigenous structures, with appropriate academic support and interpretation, these might have formed the basis of a UK social economy. Detailed reviews of literatures and discourses are provided, showing that most UK literatures feature contributions from New Labour onwards and neglect appropriate antecedents. A detailed timeline of US, mainland Europe and UK developments is provided.

in How Blair killed the co-ops
Aleksander Buzgalin and Andrey Kolganov

This chapter proposes a historical-genetic system, ascending from the abstract to the concrete, specific and conditioned by socio-spatial contradictions, of the forms and methods of exploitation of the worker by capital that are inherent in the global economy of the twenty-first century. From slave-like forms of personal dependence, the development of this system proceeds via the ‘classical’ forms of capitalist exploitation of the industrial worker, to the use of methods of generating and assigning monopolistic profits (as well as imperialist profits, based on the exploitation of the periphery), giving rise to significant new relationships of the exploitation of creative activity. The authors argue that the exploitation of the creative worker involves not merely the appropriation of surplus-value, but also the appropriation of universal cultural wealth. This result, associated as a rule not with a (creative) worker but with a subject of intellectual property (the corporation), has no value, but has a certain price. This situation allows the owner of a creative corporation to obtain so-called intellectual rent.

On this basis, the authors demonstrate changes in the relationship of formal and real subordination by capital not only of the workforce, but also of the human individual, in particular of her or his free time. This study permits a constructive criticism of the categories of human and social ‘capital’, which in perverse form reflect real changes in the role of human beings and in their social relations within the modern economy.

in Twenty-first-century capital
Abstract only
Aleksander Buzgalin and Andrey Kolganov

The authors summarise their main propositions, showing the changes during the twenty-first century in the content and forms of the market, of money, of capital, and of the capitalist system as a whole. The conclusion is reached that during the stage of late capitalism, and in particular during the twenty-first century, two contradictory, mutually interconnected trends have been developing. On the one hand, transitional relationships are taking shape that are uneven in terms of space and time and that include features both of the capitalist system and of the post-capitalist realm of freedom. These transitional forms include the social delimitation and regulation of the market and capital, and the partial redistribution of profit to the advantage of society. On the other hand, new relations of alienation are taking shape and even more powerful than previously. These include the total market for simulacra; virtual fictitious financial capital, dominating the real sector and all of society; and the exploitation not just of industrial workers but also of creative workers, of world culture, and of nature. The final conclusion of the book is that late capitalism is the ‘sunset’ not only of the capitalist mode of production (or as Costas Panayotakis has observed, of the capitalist mode of destruction), but also of the entire epoch that Marx and Engels very deliberately termed the ‘realm of necessity’.

in Twenty-first-century capital
Aleksander Buzgalin and Andrey Kolganov

This chapter describes the post-Soviet school of critical Marxism in the context of the contemporary Russian intellectual milieu. Despite the collapse of the USSR and the incursion of Western social sciences, the topic of Marxism remains very widely discussed in Russia. Indeed, Marxist works have been appearing with increasing frequency in the new century. As a result, social scientists have defined themselves quite precisely in relation to Marxism. Several groups can be distinguished in terms of their relationship to Marxism.

The post-Soviet school of critical Marxism, to which the authors of the book belong, declares itself to be Marxist, with a strongly critical attitude to social-democratic reformism. This school emphasises not just the reactualising of classical Marxism, but also its positive negation, criticism, and dialectical development. The school also stresses the need to understand the modern period (broadly, since the beginning of the twentieth century) as an epoch of global qualitative changes in the very bases of humanity’s collective life. These changes are creating the preconditions not only for a post-capitalist society, but also for a post-industrial, post-economic society (the ‘realm of freedom’). This approach makes it possible to view modern social and economic life in integrated systemic and dialectical fashion, within the context of its historical development. The crucial basis for such work is a new dialectical method, reconfigured in light of the transformations that have taken place in the past century.

in Twenty-first-century capital