The Community and Voluntary Pillar In Irish social partnership
Series: Irish Society
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.

From New Labour to the Big Society
Author: Hugh Atkinson

There is a widespread view that local democracy in Britain is in deep trouble and that people face a crisis of civic engagement and political participation. This book counterweighs the many negative accounts that seek to dominate the political discourse with talks on political apathy and selfish individualism. It commences with an examination of theoretical debates as to the meaning of local democracy and related concepts. The book looks at the policy agenda around local democracy in the context of the developing nature of central/local relations since 1979. It considers the available evidence on level of political participation and civic engagement by looking at eight themes. These include the state of formal politics, forms of civic engagement, community identity and the emerging world of the internet/world wide web. The book also looks at nine key aspects of the reform of local democracy over the last fifteen years, including local democracy and the New Labour reform agenda; the constitutional position of local government; and double devolution. It focuses on the so-called 'crisis of formal democracy' at the local level. The book ascertains the recent developments beyond the realm of elections, political parties and formal political institutions. It then concentrates on local services and policy attempts to widen public participation in the shaping and delivery of such services. Finally, the book discusses the concept of sustainability and regeneration strategies to build sustainable communities, both physical and social.

Universities have historically generated knowledge outside of specific local contexts. These pure research methodologies produce knowledge that is carefully partitioned from the practical realities of a phenomenon. This book suggests a world in peril requires us to question this approach, particularly in the field of environmental sustainability. Environmental health affects everyone and requires integrated and interdisciplinary answers to complex issues. This requires bold action and a radical take on the world. Derived from the Latin radix or “root”, a radical spirit is one that searches for meaning and affirms community.” The community, in this case, is an environment that supports diverse life.

Joe Larragy

10 Asymmetric engagement The starting point for the present study was the identification of a novel feature of Irish social partnership, the Community and Voluntary Pillar. While there has been considerable debate on the nature of social partnership, and while the issue of the Pillar has come up in the context of several studies, there has not yet been published a single study devoted specifically to the CVP. Only a few article-­length or chapter-­length accounts of the Pillar have been published – usually in the context of wider concerns. Some of these are very

in Asymmetric engagement
Debates and evidence
Hugh Atkinson

2 Civic engagement and political participation: debates and evidence Introduction There is a widespread view that democracy at the local level in Britain is in crisis with levels of political participation at an all-time low. Indeed, there is an increasing ‘anti-politics’ narrative that posits a public alienated from the political class. The public uproar in 2009 over the ‘excessive’ allowances claimed by some members of parliament (MPs) has fed into this. However, the central argument of this chapter, and indeed of the book itself, is that a deeper and more

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Hugh Atkinson

6 Local services, community and civic engagement Introduction In Chapter 6 the focus is on local services and their impact on strengthening civic engagement and local communities. First, there will be a focus on central government policy. There will be an analysis of some initiatives of the last Labour government as well as an initial assessment of the emerging policy agenda of the current Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition. Local public service reform will also be looked at in the context of the role of markets and the increasing emphasis on the choice

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
International Perspectives

It is important to address the key social and cultural theorisations around issues such as freedom, democracy, knowledge and instrumentalism that impact the university and its relationship with and to the arts. This book maps out various ways in which the arts and creative practices are manifest in contemporary university-based adult education work, be it the classroom, in research or in the community. It is divided into three sections that reflect the normative structure or 'three pillars' of the contemporary university: teaching, research and service. The focus is on a programme that stems from the university's mission and commitment to encouraging its graduates to become more engaged citizens, willing to think critically and creatively about issues of global import, social justice and inequality. The Storefront 101 course, a free University of Calgary literature course for 'non-traditional' adult learners, aims to involve students in active dialogic processes of learning and civic and cultural engagement. Using the concept of pop-up galleries, teacher education is discussed. The book contextualises the place and role of the arts in society, adult education, higher education and knowledge creation, and outlines current arts-based theories and methodologies. It provides examples of visual and performing arts practices to critically and creatively see, explore, represent, learn and discover the potential of the human aesthetic dimension in higher education teaching and research. A more holistic and organic approach to lifelong learning is facilitated by a 'knowing-through-doing' approach, which became foregrounded as a defining feature of this project.

An agenda for change?
Hugh Atkinson

3 The challenge of local democracy, civic engagement and community: an agenda for change? Introduction In the early period of the newly elected Labour government after 1997 the apparent conciliatory tone towards local government was in sharp contrast to the conflicted nature of central/local relations during the Thatcher and Major years. Tighter financial restrictions, rate capping, cuts in central government financial support, increased privatisation of local authority services and loss of policy autonomy all gave the clear impression of a beleaguered local

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Abstract only
The Community Workers’ Co-operative
Joe Larragy

7 Community or demos? The Community Workers’ Co-­operative Introduction The Community Workers’ Co-­operative (CWC, the Co-­op) had a key role in the creation and evolution of the CVP. The Co-­op emerged as an association of people committed to community work values and practice, engaged with marginalised communities and minorities, and focused on empowerment through local and national engagement with statutory institutions. The philosophical roots of the Co-­op were in building capacity from below rather than in the voluntary-­philanthropic tradition. A focus on

in Asymmetric engagement
Abstract only
The National Women’s Council of Ireland
Joe Larragy

social partnership as one of the key components of the CVP. The chapter begins by setting the scene in relation to the changing social division of labour and the circumstances and economic role of women in Irish society. Against this background, the chapter briefly examines the emergence of the NWCI, and notes in particular its leftward trajectory in the early 1990s. The chapter then turns to its engagement with the state – initially when invited to participate in the NESF, from 1993, and then in relation to Partnership 2000. The NWCI, despite a sense of being ill

in Asymmetric engagement