Third sector, welfare, governance and social citizenship in Greece and the UK.

PRINOS, Ioannis. (2016). Third sector, welfare, governance and social citizenship in Greece and the UK. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This study looks at how the third sector (TS) in Greece and the UK is shaped by crisis and the politics of austerity. The empirical research for this thesis involved a comparative case study of two medium-sized third sector organisations (TSOs), one in Greece and one in the UK. Both organisations are to some extent user-led and support vulnerable social groups. The thesis addresses two main research questions: firstly, to what extent and in which ways do TSOs utilise governance 'technologies of self; and secondly, how do they perceive social citizenship, while supporting their service-users' efforts for socioeconomic (re)integration? The thesis thus contributes to an area largely unexplored by previous research: the role of TSOs in the 'remaking' of social citizenship rights through their possible co-optation as local welfare agents, and the ways they may be applying behavioural governance strategies for the social control of the marginalised. In a welfare culture where individuals must learn how to self-regulate and care for themselves, rather that the welfare state caring for them, the nuances of TSOs' response as instruments of governmentality in different countries, have remained largely unaddressed. Through ethnographic observations and in-depth qualitative interviews, the analytical focus of the study is on the experiences and perceptions of primarily staff members and secondly service-users, during their everyday activities. From this premise, attention is then paid to the organisations' practices as social actors within their national habitus. Specifically, their relation to dominant welfare discourses and policies is scrutinised, emphasising the latter's effect on their identity, strategies, goals and relationship with their service-users. The study finds that the UK organisation is focused inwards, using various discipline and user-monitoring technologies reflecting national discourses within the welfare system, in which it aspires to remain an active actor. These technologies are characterised by conditionality, benefit sanctions, notions of civility, proper morals, adaptability, responsibility and antisocial behaviour. The goal is to transform welfare protection into arbitrary individual privileges attained through adherence to externally set rules observed by service providers such as TSOs, which in order to remain relevant, 'fight' for social inclusion, rather than against social exclusion. In contrast, the Greek organisation, is focused outwards, to the social and the political. It carries itself as a sociopolitical actor opposing dominant welfare narratives promoting charity and individual responsibility for social problems in the form of antisocial behaviour and unproductive lifestyles. It attempts to draw service-users into a practical and ideological commitment to activism in a sociopolitical movement of solidarity and resistance to neoliberal austerity. Consequently, and to the detriment of the services offered, social control practices are again employed, but towards the promotion of a new social and economic paradigm. Hinging on direct democracy from the ground-up, the ultimate goal is the reinstitution of the social welfare state as the sole guarantor of social citizenship for all. Future comparative research could focus solely on the 'voice' of service-users, investigating the existence of a TS-dependency institutional stigma, but also, their sway over the activities, strategies and aims of TSOs supporting them.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2016.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2018 11:01
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2019 13:03
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23515

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