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The Big Society Debate: a new agenda for social welfare?

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Armine Ishkanian and Simon Szreter (eds)
Edward Elgar (2012)

The expert contributors to this detailed yet concise book collectively raise questions about the novelty of the Big Society Agenda, its ideological underpinnings, and challenges it poses for policymakers and practitioners.

The book is divided into two sections, history and policy, which together provide readers with a historically grounded, internationally informed, and multidisciplinary analysis of the Big Society policies. The introduction and conclusion tie the strands together, providing a coherent analysis of the key issues in both sections. Various chapters in this study examine the limitations and consider the challenges involved in translating the ideas of the Big Society agenda into practice.

By drawing on international examples, from developed and developing countries in order to analyse and discuss Big Society policies, this book will prove invaluable for students, academics and policymakers.

  • Dr Armine Ishkanian is a lecturer in NGOs and development in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.

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‘Before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron placed the “Big Society” at the heart of his efforts to rebuild Britain’s “broken society”. The essays in this volume probe the historical origins of the concept and seek to evaluate it in the light of both historical and contemporary evidence. They raise profound questions about the provenance of the “Big Society” and its relevance to contemporary social concerns. They should be of interest to anyone who cares about the past, present or future of British social policy.’
Bernard Harris, University of Southampton, UK

‘There is nothing new about the notion of a Big Society. This book combines historical scholarship, international research and grassroots experience to shine a critical spotlight on the rhetoric behind the coalition government’s big idea.’
Bill Jordan, University of Plymouth, UK

‘Armine Ishkanian and Simon Szreter’s fascinating book provides important insights into the way political elites use slogans and imagery to sway public opinion on social policy issues. This highly original work will be a major scholarly resource for years to come.’
James Midgley, University of California, Berkeley, US


The Big Society Debate