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Retrieving The Big Society

Jason Edwards (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-36878-7 August 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 196 Pages


Retrieving the Big Society presents a collection of essays that challenge the view of Britain’s Big Society as a political gimmick and recognise it as an alternative to the central state in social and economic governance.
  • Offers an original and critical take on the idea of the Big Society
  • Attempts to make sense of the Big Society by placing in the context of the history of localism, mutualism, and voluntarism
  • Features contributions by experts on British politics and political theory

Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Retrieving the Big Society (JASON EDWARDS)

1. The Big Society in Question (MAURICE GLASMAN and JESSE NORMAN)

2. Red or Orange: The Big Society in the New Conservatism (PAUL KELLY)

3. Cameron, Culture and the Creative Class: The Big Society and the Post-Bureaucratic Age (ALAN FINLAYSON)

4. Big Societies, Little Platoons and the Problems with Pluralism (RODNEY BARKER)

5. Servile State or Discredited State: Some Historical Antecedents of Current ‘Big Society’ Debates (JOSE HARRIS)

6. Tocqueville and the Big Society (JEREMY JENNINGS)

7. The Big Society and Conservative Politics: Back to the Future or Forward to the Past? (ALAN WARE)

8. Freedom, Free Institutions and the Big Society (JASON EDWARDS)

9. From Burke to Burkha: Conservatism, Multiculturalism and the Big Society (RICHARD KELLY and ROBERT CROWCROFT)

10. The Big Society: Post-Bureaucratic Social Policy in the Twenty-first Century? (BENJAMIN WILLIAMS)

11. Free Schools: Big Society or Small Interests? (ADAM LEEDER and DEBORAH MABBETT)

12. The Big Society and the ‘Mutualisation’ of Public Services: A Critical Commentary (JOHNSTON BIRCHALL)

13. Beginning the Big Society in the Early Years (LOUISE BAMFIELD)


“It is well worth a read.”  (The Journal of Social Policy, 1 October 2013)