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Title: Cultures of participation: delivering youth volunteering in contemporary Britain
Author: Dean, Jon
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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The 'big society' policy agenda of the United Kingdom coalition government has come under immense criticism. From being 'a cover for cuts' to mere 'aspirational waffle', the big society has provoked debate and anger across the political spectrum. If it is to succeed however, how the next generation of citizens, those aged 16 to 25, respond to programmes aimed at increasing their civic and community engagement will be vital. Drawing on qualitative research with volunteer brokerage workers and young volunteers in two localities in England, this research addresses what role volunteering currently plays in the lives 'of young people. Through situating volunteering policies within a governmentality framework, as part of a history of population development and control by the state, we see how young people have been increasingly implored to become 'responsible' citizens through volunteering. Utilising both Foucauldian and Bourdieuian social theory, it is demonstrated that social class is a significant determinant in young people's relationships to volunteering and wider participation, and that the current delivery of volunteering programmes for young people exacerbates this divide. This is witnessed between a largely instrumentalised middle·class engagement, and Significant cultures of inhabited alienation within working-class youth. Concurrently, through taking an approach inspired by Bourdieu and Mills of reflexive sociology, and drawing on the author's own biography and emotional response to the fieldwork, this research seeks to understand epistemological questions of subjectivity. It will be argued that biographical reflection needs to be built into research methodology in order to produce honest, accessible, and Scientifically rigorous public sociology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available