Change and the practices of actors in civil society: towards an interpretivist exploration of agency in third sector scholarship

Nick Acheson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    A profound reshaping of the relationship between the third sector and state and non-state actors in the new welfare spaces after the economic crash poses questions about how these spaces are co-constructed by actors within them. Third sector scholarship has typically sought to address these questions as if third sector organisations were injured parties being compelled to adapt to survive, and this is matched by a lack of theoretical and empirical attention to the active role played by third sector organisations in constructing these spaces. This article offers a critique of a third sector paradigm for being too rooted in rational actor and historical institutionalism, too focused on organisational adaptation to existing norms and too passive. It argues for a radically decentred interpretivist methodology that will capture the intense struggle over meaning that constitutes civil society and in which third sector narratives are themselves rhetorical weapons.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages293-312
    Number of pages20
    JournalVoluntary Sector Review:
    Volume5
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2014

    Fingerprint

    institutionalism
    weapon
    civil society
    welfare
    paradigm
    narrative
    lack
    methodology
    economics

    Keywords

    • Agency
    • Institutionalism
    • Interpretivism
    • Third Sector

    Cite this

    @article{4de833b859ae47e0959fe2ab10b794e3,
    title = "Change and the practices of actors in civil society: towards an interpretivist exploration of agency in third sector scholarship",
    abstract = "A profound reshaping of the relationship between the third sector and state and non-state actors in the new welfare spaces after the economic crash poses questions about how these spaces are co-constructed by actors within them. Third sector scholarship has typically sought to address these questions as if third sector organisations were injured parties being compelled to adapt to survive, and this is matched by a lack of theoretical and empirical attention to the active role played by third sector organisations in constructing these spaces. This article offers a critique of a third sector paradigm for being too rooted in rational actor and historical institutionalism, too focused on organisational adaptation to existing norms and too passive. It argues for a radically decentred interpretivist methodology that will capture the intense struggle over meaning that constitutes civil society and in which third sector narratives are themselves rhetorical weapons.",
    keywords = "Agency, Institutionalism, Interpretivism, Third Sector",
    author = "Nick Acheson",
    note = "Reference text: Acheson, N, Laforest, R, 2013, The expendibles: community organizations and governance dynamics in the Canadian settlement sector,Canadian Journal of Political Science, published online 23 August Alcock,P,2010,A strategic unity:defining the third sector in the UK,Voluntary Sector Review, 5-24 Alcock, P, Kendall, J, 2011, Constituting the third sector: processes of decontestation and contention under the UK Labour government in England,Voluntas, 22,450-69 Alcock,P,Kendall,J,Parry,J,2012,From the‘third sector’to the‘Big society’:consensus or contention in the 2010 UK General Election, Voluntary Sector Review, 3, 347-64 Anheier, HK, 2009, Comparing third sector policy: a postscript and six theses, in B. Gidron and M. Bar (eds) Policy initiatives towards the third sector in international perspective, New York, NY, Heidelberg and London: Springer Ayers, S, Marsh, A, 2013, Reflections on contemporary debates in policy studies, Policy and Politics, 41, 643-63 15 1963 Nick Acheson Battulana, J, D’Aunno,T, 2009, Institutional work and the paradox of embedded agency, in B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby and B. Leca (eds) 2009, Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Bevir, M, 2007, The construction of governance, in Bevir, M, Trentmann, F. (ed) Governance, consumers and citizens: Agency and resistance in contemporary politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Bevir, M, 2010, Democratic governance, Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press Bevir, M, 2011, Public administration as storytelling, Public Administration, 89, 183-95 Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, 2010, The state as cultural practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, Weller, P, 2003, Comparative government: prospects and lessons, Public Administration, 81, 191-210 Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, 2006, Disaggregating structures as an agenda for critical realism: a reply to McAnulla, British Politics, 1, 397-403 Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, 2008,The differentiated polity as narrative, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 10, 729-34 Billis, D, 2010, Towards a theory of hybrid organisations, in D. Billis (ed) Hybrid organisations and the third sector: Challenges for practice, theory and policy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Billis, D, Glennerster, H, 1998, Human services and the voluntary sector, Journal of Social Policy, 27, 79-98 Brandsen,T, van der Donk,W, Putters, K, 2005, Griffins or chameleons? Hybridity as a permanent and inevitable characteristic of the third sector, International Journal of Public Administration, 28, 749-65 Buckingham, H, 2011, Hybridity, diversity and the division of labour in the third sector: what can we learn from homelessness organisations in the UK?, Voluntary Sector Review, 2, 157-75 Carmel, E, Harlock, J, 2008, Instituting the ‘third sector’ as a governable terrain: partnership, procurement and performance in the UK, Policy & Politics, 36, 155-72 Casey, J, Dalton, B, Melville, R, Onyx, J, 2010, Strengthening government–nonprofit relations: international experiences with Compacts, Voluntary Sector Review, 1, 59-76 Chew, C, Osborne, SP, 2009, Exploring strategic positioning in the UK charitable sector: emerging evidence from charities that provide public services, British Journal of Management, 20, 90-105 Coule,T, Patmore, B, 2013, Institutional logics, institutional work and public service innovation in non-profit organizations, Public Administration, doi: 10.1111/ padm.12005 Crouch, C, 2005, Capitalist diversity and change: Recombinant governance and institutional entrepreneurs, Oxford: Oxford University Press Crouch, C, 2011, The strange non-death of neoliberalism, Cambridge: Polity Press Davies, JS, 2011, Challenging governance theory: From networks to hegemony, Bristol: Policy Press Davies, JS, 2013, Just do it differently? Everyday making, Marxism and the struggle against neoliberalism, Policy & Politics, 41, 497-513 de Tocqueville,A, 1835, Democracy in America:Volume I, NewYork, NY:Alfred Knopf, 16 Change and the practices of actors in civil society DiMaggio, PJ, Powell,WW, 1983,The Iron Cage revisited: institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields, American Sociological Review, 48, 147-60 DiMaggio, PJ, Powell, WW, 1991, Introduction, in P.J. DiMaggio and W.W. Powell (eds) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press Elsdon, PR, 2010, The emergence of structured subnational voluntary sector– government relationships in Canada: a historical institutionalist analysis, Voluntary Sector Review, 135-55 Evers, A, 2005, Mixed welfare systems and hybrid organizations: changes in the governance and provision of social services, International Journal of Public Administration, 28, 737-48 Evers, A, 2013, The concept of civil society: different understandings and their implications for third sector policies, Voluntary Sector Review, 4, 149-64 Evers, A, Laville, JL, 2004, Defining the third sector in Europe, in A. Evers and J.L. Laville (eds) The third sector in Europe, Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. Friedland, R, Alford, RR, 1991, Bringing society back in: symbols, practices and institutional contradictions, in P. DiMaggio and W.W. Powell (eds) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press Geoghegan, M, Powell, F, 2009, Community development, the Irish state and the contested meaning of civil society, in D. O’Broin and P. Kirby (eds) Power, dissent and democracy: Civil society and the state in Ireland, Dublin:A. & A. Farmar Gidron, B, Bar, M, 2009, Policy initiatives towards the third sector in international perspective, New York, NY, Heidelberg and London: Springer Glynos, J, Howarth, D, 2008, Structure, agency and power in political analysis: beyond contextualised self-interpretations, Political Studies Review, 6, 155-69 Hall, PA, Taylor, RCR, 1996, Political science and the three new institutionalisms, Political Studies, 44, 936-57 Hannsmann, H, 1987, Economic theories of nonprofit organizations, in W.W. Powell (ed) The nonprofit sector:A research handbook,New Haven,CT:Yale University Press Harris, M, 2010,Third sector organizations in a contradictory policy environment, in D. Billis (ed) Hybrid organizations and the third sector: Challenges for practice, theory, policy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Hay, C, 2002, Political analysis: A critical introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Hay, C, 2011, Interpreting interpretivism, interpreting interpretations: the new hermeneutics of public administration, Public Administration, 89, 161-82 James, E, 1990, Economic theories of the nonprofit sector, in H.K. Anheier and W. Siebel (eds) The third sector: Comparative studies of nonprofit organizations, New York, NY and Berlin:Walter de Gruyter Kendall, J, 2003, The voluntary sector: Comparative perspectives in the UK, London: Routledge Kingdon,JW,1995,Agendas,alternatives and public policies,NewYork,NY:HarperCollins Kirby, P, 2010, Celtic Tiger in collapse: Explaining the weaknesses of the Irish model, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Laforest, R, 2012, Rerouting political representation: is Canada’s social infrastructure in crisis?, British Journal of Canadian Studies, 25, 181-98 17 Administration, 89, 196-212 Nick Acheson Laforest, R (ed), 2013, The recession and beyond:Taking stock of evolving government– nonprofit relationships, Montreal: McGill and Queens University Press Laforest, R, 2014,The role of ideas and interests in voluntary sector organizing: some insights from Canadian scholarship, Voluntas, 25, 1175-91 Lawrence,TB, Suddaby, R, Leca, B, 2009, Introduction, in T.B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby and B. Leca (eds) Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Lowndes,V, Roberts, M, 2013, Why institutions matter:The new institutionalism in political science, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan McAnulla, S, 2006, Challenging the new interpretivist approach: towards a critical realist alternative, British Politics, 1, 113-38 MacMillan, M, 2013, The war that ended peace, London: Profile Books Macmillan, R, 2013, Distinction in the third sector, Voluntary Sector Review, 4, 39-54 Macmillan,R,Taylor,R,Arvidson,M,Soteri-Proctor,A,Teasdale,S,2013,The third sector in unsettled times:A field guide, Third Sector Research CentreWorking Paper 109, Birmingham:Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham March, JG, Olsen, JP, 2006, Elaborating the new institutionalism, in R.A.W. Rhodes, S.A. Binder and B.A. Rockman (eds) The Oxford handbook of political institutions, Oxford: Oxford University Press Marsh, D, 2008,What’s at stake? A response to Bevir and Rhodes, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 10, 735-9 Marsh, D, 2011, The new orthodoxy: the differentiated polity model, Public Administration, 89, 32-48 Milbourne,L,2013,Voluntary sector in transition:Hard times or new opportunities,Bristol: Policy Press Milbourne, L, Cushman, M, 2013, From third sector to ‘Big Society’: how changing UK government policies have eroded third sector trust, Voluntas, 24, 485-508 Minkoff, D, 2002,The emergence of hybrid organisational forms: combining identity based service provision and political action, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 31, 377-401 Mullins, DW,Acheson, N, 2013, Competing drivers of hybridity: third sector housing organisations in Northern Ireland, Voluntas, 25 Newman, J, 2005, Introduction, in J. Newman (ed) Remaking governance: Peoples, politics and the public sphere, Bristol: Policy Press Newman, J, 2013, Performing new worlds? Policy, politics and creative labour in hard times, Policy & Politics, 41, 515-32 Pierson, P, 2004, Politics in time: History, institutions and social analysis, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press Powell, F, 2013, The politics of civil society: Big Society and small government, Bristol: Policy Press Powell,WW,DiMaggio,PJ,1991,Introduction,inW.W.Powell and P.J.DiMaggio (eds) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis, Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press Rhodes, RAW, 2007, Understanding governance ten years on, Organization Studies, 28, 1243-64 Rhodes, RAW, 2011, Thinking on: a career in public administration, Public 18 6, 252-64 Change and the practices of actors in civil society Rhodes, RAW, 2013, Political anthropology and the civil service reform: prospects and limits, Policy & Politics, 41, 481-96 Rochester, C, 2013, Rediscovering voluntary action:The beat of a different drum, Basingstoke: Palgrave Romanelli, E, Tushman, ML, 1994, Organizational transformation as punctuated equilibrium: an empirical test, The Academy of Management Journal, 37, 1141-61 Sabatier, PA, Jenkins-Smith, HC, 1999, The advocacy coalition framework: an assessment, in P.A. Sabatier (ed) Theories of the policy process, Boulder, CO and Oxford: Westview Salamon, LM, Anheier, HK, 1998, Social origins of civil society: explaining the nonprofit sector cross nationally, Voluntas, 9, 213-48 Salamon, LM, Anheier, HK, List, R, Toepler, S, Sokolowski, SM, 1999, Global civil society: Dimensions of the nonprofit sector, Baltimore, MD: Center for Civil Society Studies, Johns Hopkins University Schmidt,V, 2008, Discursive institutionalism: the explanatory power of ideas and discourse, Annual Review of Political Science, 11, 303-26 Schmidt,V, 2010, Taking ideas and discourse seriously: explaining change through discursive institutionalism as the fourth ‘new institutionalism’, European Political Science Review, 2, 1-25 Schmidt,V, 2011, Speaking of change: why discourse is the key to the dynamics of policy transformation, Critical Policy Studies, 5, 106-26 Skelcher, C, Smith, SR, 2014, Theorizing hybridity: institutional logics, complex organisations and actor identities: the case of nonprofits, Public Administration, doi: 10.1111/padm.12105 Smith, SR, 2010, Hybridization and nonprofit organisations: the governance challenge, Policy and Society, 29, 219-29 Smith, SR, 2013,The new reality of the government–nonprofit relationship in the United States, in R. Laforest (ed) The recession and beyond:Taking stock of evolving government–nonprofit relationships, Montreal: McGill and Queens University Press Smith, SR, Gronbjerg, K, 2006, Scope and theory of government–nonprofit relations, in W.W. Powell and R. Steinberg (eds) The nonprofit sector:A research handbook, New Haven, CT:Yale University Press Smith, SR, Gronbjerg, K, 2014, Government–third sector relations: a comparative perspective,paper at the 11th international conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research, University of Muenster, Germany Streeck, W, Thelen, K (eds), 2005, Beyond continuity: Institutional change in advanced political economies, Oxford and New York, NY: Oxford University Press Taylor, M, 2013, England’s Big Society: can the voluntary sector manage without the state?, in R. Laforest (ed) The recession and beyond:Taking stock of evolving government– nonprofit relationships, Montreal: McGill and Queens University Press Teasdale, S, 2010, Explaining the multi-faceted nature of social enterprise: impression management as (social) entrepreneurial behaviour, Voluntary Sector Review, 1, 271-92 Teasdale, S, 2012, Negotiating tensions: how do social enterprises in the homelessness field balance social and commercial considerations?, Housing Studies, 27, 514-32 Thornton, P, Ocasso,W, Loundsbury, M, 2012, The institutional logics perspective:A new approach to culture, structure and process, Oxford: Oxford University Press Turnbull, N, 2011, Interpretivism and practice in governance studies, British Politics, 19 Nick Acheson Wagenaar, H, 2011, Meaning in action: Interpretation and dialogue in policy analysis, Armonk, NY, M.E. Sharpe Wagenaar, H, 2012, Dwellers on the threshold of practice: the interpretivism of Bevir and Rhodes, Critical Policy Studies, 6, 85-99 Wagner,A, 2012,Third sector and/or civil society: a critical discourse about scholarship relating to intermediate organizations, Voluntary Sector Review, 3, 299-328 Weisbrod, BA, 1977, The voluntary nonprofit sector: An economic analysis, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books Weisbrod, BA, 1988, The nonprofit economy, Boston, MA: Harvard University Press Zilber, TB, 2009, Institutional maintenance as narrative acts, in T.B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby and B. Leca (eds) Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Zucker, L, 1983, Organizations as institutions, in S.B. Bacharach (ed) Research in the sociology of organizations, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press",
    year = "2014",
    month = "11",
    day = "10",
    doi = "10.1332/204080514X14150181037122",
    language = "English",
    volume = "5",
    pages = "293--312",
    journal = "Voluntary Sector Review",
    issn = "2040-8056",
    number = "3",

    }

    Change and the practices of actors in civil society: towards an interpretivist exploration of agency in third sector scholarship. / Acheson, Nick.

    In: Voluntary Sector Review:, Vol. 5, No. 3, 10.11.2014, p. 293-312.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Change and the practices of actors in civil society: towards an interpretivist exploration of agency in third sector scholarship

    AU - Acheson, Nick

    N1 - Reference text: Acheson, N, Laforest, R, 2013, The expendibles: community organizations and governance dynamics in the Canadian settlement sector,Canadian Journal of Political Science, published online 23 August Alcock,P,2010,A strategic unity:defining the third sector in the UK,Voluntary Sector Review, 5-24 Alcock, P, Kendall, J, 2011, Constituting the third sector: processes of decontestation and contention under the UK Labour government in England,Voluntas, 22,450-69 Alcock,P,Kendall,J,Parry,J,2012,From the‘third sector’to the‘Big society’:consensus or contention in the 2010 UK General Election, Voluntary Sector Review, 3, 347-64 Anheier, HK, 2009, Comparing third sector policy: a postscript and six theses, in B. Gidron and M. Bar (eds) Policy initiatives towards the third sector in international perspective, New York, NY, Heidelberg and London: Springer Ayers, S, Marsh, A, 2013, Reflections on contemporary debates in policy studies, Policy and Politics, 41, 643-63 15 1963 Nick Acheson Battulana, J, D’Aunno,T, 2009, Institutional work and the paradox of embedded agency, in B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby and B. Leca (eds) 2009, Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Bevir, M, 2007, The construction of governance, in Bevir, M, Trentmann, F. (ed) Governance, consumers and citizens: Agency and resistance in contemporary politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Bevir, M, 2010, Democratic governance, Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press Bevir, M, 2011, Public administration as storytelling, Public Administration, 89, 183-95 Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, 2010, The state as cultural practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, Weller, P, 2003, Comparative government: prospects and lessons, Public Administration, 81, 191-210 Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, 2006, Disaggregating structures as an agenda for critical realism: a reply to McAnulla, British Politics, 1, 397-403 Bevir, M, Rhodes, RAW, 2008,The differentiated polity as narrative, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 10, 729-34 Billis, D, 2010, Towards a theory of hybrid organisations, in D. Billis (ed) Hybrid organisations and the third sector: Challenges for practice, theory and policy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Billis, D, Glennerster, H, 1998, Human services and the voluntary sector, Journal of Social Policy, 27, 79-98 Brandsen,T, van der Donk,W, Putters, K, 2005, Griffins or chameleons? Hybridity as a permanent and inevitable characteristic of the third sector, International Journal of Public Administration, 28, 749-65 Buckingham, H, 2011, Hybridity, diversity and the division of labour in the third sector: what can we learn from homelessness organisations in the UK?, Voluntary Sector Review, 2, 157-75 Carmel, E, Harlock, J, 2008, Instituting the ‘third sector’ as a governable terrain: partnership, procurement and performance in the UK, Policy & Politics, 36, 155-72 Casey, J, Dalton, B, Melville, R, Onyx, J, 2010, Strengthening government–nonprofit relations: international experiences with Compacts, Voluntary Sector Review, 1, 59-76 Chew, C, Osborne, SP, 2009, Exploring strategic positioning in the UK charitable sector: emerging evidence from charities that provide public services, British Journal of Management, 20, 90-105 Coule,T, Patmore, B, 2013, Institutional logics, institutional work and public service innovation in non-profit organizations, Public Administration, doi: 10.1111/ padm.12005 Crouch, C, 2005, Capitalist diversity and change: Recombinant governance and institutional entrepreneurs, Oxford: Oxford University Press Crouch, C, 2011, The strange non-death of neoliberalism, Cambridge: Polity Press Davies, JS, 2011, Challenging governance theory: From networks to hegemony, Bristol: Policy Press Davies, JS, 2013, Just do it differently? Everyday making, Marxism and the struggle against neoliberalism, Policy & Politics, 41, 497-513 de Tocqueville,A, 1835, Democracy in America:Volume I, NewYork, NY:Alfred Knopf, 16 Change and the practices of actors in civil society DiMaggio, PJ, Powell,WW, 1983,The Iron Cage revisited: institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields, American Sociological Review, 48, 147-60 DiMaggio, PJ, Powell, WW, 1991, Introduction, in P.J. DiMaggio and W.W. Powell (eds) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press Elsdon, PR, 2010, The emergence of structured subnational voluntary sector– government relationships in Canada: a historical institutionalist analysis, Voluntary Sector Review, 135-55 Evers, A, 2005, Mixed welfare systems and hybrid organizations: changes in the governance and provision of social services, International Journal of Public Administration, 28, 737-48 Evers, A, 2013, The concept of civil society: different understandings and their implications for third sector policies, Voluntary Sector Review, 4, 149-64 Evers, A, Laville, JL, 2004, Defining the third sector in Europe, in A. Evers and J.L. Laville (eds) The third sector in Europe, Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. Friedland, R, Alford, RR, 1991, Bringing society back in: symbols, practices and institutional contradictions, in P. DiMaggio and W.W. Powell (eds) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press Geoghegan, M, Powell, F, 2009, Community development, the Irish state and the contested meaning of civil society, in D. O’Broin and P. Kirby (eds) Power, dissent and democracy: Civil society and the state in Ireland, Dublin:A. & A. Farmar Gidron, B, Bar, M, 2009, Policy initiatives towards the third sector in international perspective, New York, NY, Heidelberg and London: Springer Glynos, J, Howarth, D, 2008, Structure, agency and power in political analysis: beyond contextualised self-interpretations, Political Studies Review, 6, 155-69 Hall, PA, Taylor, RCR, 1996, Political science and the three new institutionalisms, Political Studies, 44, 936-57 Hannsmann, H, 1987, Economic theories of nonprofit organizations, in W.W. Powell (ed) The nonprofit sector:A research handbook,New Haven,CT:Yale University Press Harris, M, 2010,Third sector organizations in a contradictory policy environment, in D. Billis (ed) Hybrid organizations and the third sector: Challenges for practice, theory, policy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Hay, C, 2002, Political analysis: A critical introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Hay, C, 2011, Interpreting interpretivism, interpreting interpretations: the new hermeneutics of public administration, Public Administration, 89, 161-82 James, E, 1990, Economic theories of the nonprofit sector, in H.K. Anheier and W. Siebel (eds) The third sector: Comparative studies of nonprofit organizations, New York, NY and Berlin:Walter de Gruyter Kendall, J, 2003, The voluntary sector: Comparative perspectives in the UK, London: Routledge Kingdon,JW,1995,Agendas,alternatives and public policies,NewYork,NY:HarperCollins Kirby, P, 2010, Celtic Tiger in collapse: Explaining the weaknesses of the Irish model, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Laforest, R, 2012, Rerouting political representation: is Canada’s social infrastructure in crisis?, British Journal of Canadian Studies, 25, 181-98 17 Administration, 89, 196-212 Nick Acheson Laforest, R (ed), 2013, The recession and beyond:Taking stock of evolving government– nonprofit relationships, Montreal: McGill and Queens University Press Laforest, R, 2014,The role of ideas and interests in voluntary sector organizing: some insights from Canadian scholarship, Voluntas, 25, 1175-91 Lawrence,TB, Suddaby, R, Leca, B, 2009, Introduction, in T.B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby and B. Leca (eds) Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Lowndes,V, Roberts, M, 2013, Why institutions matter:The new institutionalism in political science, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan McAnulla, S, 2006, Challenging the new interpretivist approach: towards a critical realist alternative, British Politics, 1, 113-38 MacMillan, M, 2013, The war that ended peace, London: Profile Books Macmillan, R, 2013, Distinction in the third sector, Voluntary Sector Review, 4, 39-54 Macmillan,R,Taylor,R,Arvidson,M,Soteri-Proctor,A,Teasdale,S,2013,The third sector in unsettled times:A field guide, Third Sector Research CentreWorking Paper 109, Birmingham:Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham March, JG, Olsen, JP, 2006, Elaborating the new institutionalism, in R.A.W. Rhodes, S.A. Binder and B.A. Rockman (eds) The Oxford handbook of political institutions, Oxford: Oxford University Press Marsh, D, 2008,What’s at stake? A response to Bevir and Rhodes, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 10, 735-9 Marsh, D, 2011, The new orthodoxy: the differentiated polity model, Public Administration, 89, 32-48 Milbourne,L,2013,Voluntary sector in transition:Hard times or new opportunities,Bristol: Policy Press Milbourne, L, Cushman, M, 2013, From third sector to ‘Big Society’: how changing UK government policies have eroded third sector trust, Voluntas, 24, 485-508 Minkoff, D, 2002,The emergence of hybrid organisational forms: combining identity based service provision and political action, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 31, 377-401 Mullins, DW,Acheson, N, 2013, Competing drivers of hybridity: third sector housing organisations in Northern Ireland, Voluntas, 25 Newman, J, 2005, Introduction, in J. Newman (ed) Remaking governance: Peoples, politics and the public sphere, Bristol: Policy Press Newman, J, 2013, Performing new worlds? Policy, politics and creative labour in hard times, Policy & Politics, 41, 515-32 Pierson, P, 2004, Politics in time: History, institutions and social analysis, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press Powell, F, 2013, The politics of civil society: Big Society and small government, Bristol: Policy Press Powell,WW,DiMaggio,PJ,1991,Introduction,inW.W.Powell and P.J.DiMaggio (eds) The new institutionalism in organizational analysis, Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press Rhodes, RAW, 2007, Understanding governance ten years on, Organization Studies, 28, 1243-64 Rhodes, RAW, 2011, Thinking on: a career in public administration, Public 18 6, 252-64 Change and the practices of actors in civil society Rhodes, RAW, 2013, Political anthropology and the civil service reform: prospects and limits, Policy & Politics, 41, 481-96 Rochester, C, 2013, Rediscovering voluntary action:The beat of a different drum, Basingstoke: Palgrave Romanelli, E, Tushman, ML, 1994, Organizational transformation as punctuated equilibrium: an empirical test, The Academy of Management Journal, 37, 1141-61 Sabatier, PA, Jenkins-Smith, HC, 1999, The advocacy coalition framework: an assessment, in P.A. Sabatier (ed) Theories of the policy process, Boulder, CO and Oxford: Westview Salamon, LM, Anheier, HK, 1998, Social origins of civil society: explaining the nonprofit sector cross nationally, Voluntas, 9, 213-48 Salamon, LM, Anheier, HK, List, R, Toepler, S, Sokolowski, SM, 1999, Global civil society: Dimensions of the nonprofit sector, Baltimore, MD: Center for Civil Society Studies, Johns Hopkins University Schmidt,V, 2008, Discursive institutionalism: the explanatory power of ideas and discourse, Annual Review of Political Science, 11, 303-26 Schmidt,V, 2010, Taking ideas and discourse seriously: explaining change through discursive institutionalism as the fourth ‘new institutionalism’, European Political Science Review, 2, 1-25 Schmidt,V, 2011, Speaking of change: why discourse is the key to the dynamics of policy transformation, Critical Policy Studies, 5, 106-26 Skelcher, C, Smith, SR, 2014, Theorizing hybridity: institutional logics, complex organisations and actor identities: the case of nonprofits, Public Administration, doi: 10.1111/padm.12105 Smith, SR, 2010, Hybridization and nonprofit organisations: the governance challenge, Policy and Society, 29, 219-29 Smith, SR, 2013,The new reality of the government–nonprofit relationship in the United States, in R. Laforest (ed) The recession and beyond:Taking stock of evolving government–nonprofit relationships, Montreal: McGill and Queens University Press Smith, SR, Gronbjerg, K, 2006, Scope and theory of government–nonprofit relations, in W.W. Powell and R. Steinberg (eds) The nonprofit sector:A research handbook, New Haven, CT:Yale University Press Smith, SR, Gronbjerg, K, 2014, Government–third sector relations: a comparative perspective,paper at the 11th international conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research, University of Muenster, Germany Streeck, W, Thelen, K (eds), 2005, Beyond continuity: Institutional change in advanced political economies, Oxford and New York, NY: Oxford University Press Taylor, M, 2013, England’s Big Society: can the voluntary sector manage without the state?, in R. Laforest (ed) The recession and beyond:Taking stock of evolving government– nonprofit relationships, Montreal: McGill and Queens University Press Teasdale, S, 2010, Explaining the multi-faceted nature of social enterprise: impression management as (social) entrepreneurial behaviour, Voluntary Sector Review, 1, 271-92 Teasdale, S, 2012, Negotiating tensions: how do social enterprises in the homelessness field balance social and commercial considerations?, Housing Studies, 27, 514-32 Thornton, P, Ocasso,W, Loundsbury, M, 2012, The institutional logics perspective:A new approach to culture, structure and process, Oxford: Oxford University Press Turnbull, N, 2011, Interpretivism and practice in governance studies, British Politics, 19 Nick Acheson Wagenaar, H, 2011, Meaning in action: Interpretation and dialogue in policy analysis, Armonk, NY, M.E. Sharpe Wagenaar, H, 2012, Dwellers on the threshold of practice: the interpretivism of Bevir and Rhodes, Critical Policy Studies, 6, 85-99 Wagner,A, 2012,Third sector and/or civil society: a critical discourse about scholarship relating to intermediate organizations, Voluntary Sector Review, 3, 299-328 Weisbrod, BA, 1977, The voluntary nonprofit sector: An economic analysis, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books Weisbrod, BA, 1988, The nonprofit economy, Boston, MA: Harvard University Press Zilber, TB, 2009, Institutional maintenance as narrative acts, in T.B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby and B. Leca (eds) Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Zucker, L, 1983, Organizations as institutions, in S.B. Bacharach (ed) Research in the sociology of organizations, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press

    PY - 2014/11/10

    Y1 - 2014/11/10

    N2 - A profound reshaping of the relationship between the third sector and state and non-state actors in the new welfare spaces after the economic crash poses questions about how these spaces are co-constructed by actors within them. Third sector scholarship has typically sought to address these questions as if third sector organisations were injured parties being compelled to adapt to survive, and this is matched by a lack of theoretical and empirical attention to the active role played by third sector organisations in constructing these spaces. This article offers a critique of a third sector paradigm for being too rooted in rational actor and historical institutionalism, too focused on organisational adaptation to existing norms and too passive. It argues for a radically decentred interpretivist methodology that will capture the intense struggle over meaning that constitutes civil society and in which third sector narratives are themselves rhetorical weapons.

    AB - A profound reshaping of the relationship between the third sector and state and non-state actors in the new welfare spaces after the economic crash poses questions about how these spaces are co-constructed by actors within them. Third sector scholarship has typically sought to address these questions as if third sector organisations were injured parties being compelled to adapt to survive, and this is matched by a lack of theoretical and empirical attention to the active role played by third sector organisations in constructing these spaces. This article offers a critique of a third sector paradigm for being too rooted in rational actor and historical institutionalism, too focused on organisational adaptation to existing norms and too passive. It argues for a radically decentred interpretivist methodology that will capture the intense struggle over meaning that constitutes civil society and in which third sector narratives are themselves rhetorical weapons.

    KW - Agency

    KW - Institutionalism

    KW - Interpretivism

    KW - Third Sector

    U2 - 10.1332/204080514X14150181037122

    DO - 10.1332/204080514X14150181037122

    M3 - Article

    VL - 5

    SP - 293

    EP - 312

    JO - Voluntary Sector Review

    T2 - Voluntary Sector Review

    JF - Voluntary Sector Review

    SN - 2040-8056

    IS - 3

    ER -