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Beyond ‘the paradox of our own complicity’: the place of activism and identity in 'voluntary sector' stories from Manchester and Auckland

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Beyond ‘the paradox of our own complicity’ : the place of activism and identity in 'voluntary sector' stories from Manchester and Auckland. / Kyle, Richard; Kearns, Robin; Milligan, Christine.

In: Social and Cultural Geography, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2015, p. 315-331.

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Kyle R, Kearns R, Milligan C. Beyond ‘the paradox of our own complicity’: the place of activism and identity in 'voluntary sector' stories from Manchester and Auckland. Social and Cultural Geography. 2015;16(3):315-331. Epub 2014 Nov 26. doi: 10.1080/14649365.2014.983148

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@article{56e7b08becc0433c9b0b2aa752109a43,
title = "Beyond {\textquoteleft}the paradox of our own complicity{\textquoteright}: the place of activism and identity in 'voluntary sector' stories from Manchester and Auckland",
abstract = "This paper problematises {\textquoteleft}sectors{\textquoteright} as the core organising concept for spaces within social policy and {\textquoteleft}third sector{\textquoteright} theory and practice. It does so by drawing on (auto)biographical narratives from a cross-national study of activism in the UK and New Zealand that explored activists' experiences of, and motivations for, movement between the statutory and voluntary sectors. We argue that the perpetuation of sectoral thinking represents a paradox with which scholars have largely been complicit. That is, by embarking on ever more refined definitional exercises, the concept of sectors in general, and the tri-sectoral map (comprising state, market and third sector) in particular, remains uncontested. Through identifying reasons behind inter-sectoral shifts, we show how sectors are both enlisted and {\textquoteleft}erased{\textquoteright} by activists to achieve their aims, thus demonstrating the fuzziness of sectoral boundaries. (Auto)biographical approaches allow us to unpack the importance of time and place in shaping people's activism. We conclude that if researchers can learn from activists, and tread a fine line between the utility and futility of sectors as a conceptual and empirical reality, then we might escape the paradox. Thus, new pathways through {\textquoteleft}third sector{\textquoteright} spaces can be explored and alternative policy solutions, free from myopic {\textquoteleft}sectoral{\textquoteright} thinking, can be envisioned.",
keywords = "boundary crossing, sectors, narrative, activists, identity, Manchester, UK, Auckland, New Zealand",
author = "Richard Kyle and Robin Kearns and Christine Milligan",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1080/14649365.2014.983148",
language = "English",
volume = "16",
pages = "315--331",
journal = "Social and Cultural Geography",
issn = "1464-9365",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Beyond ‘the paradox of our own complicity’

T2 - the place of activism and identity in 'voluntary sector' stories from Manchester and Auckland

AU - Kyle, Richard

AU - Kearns, Robin

AU - Milligan, Christine

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - This paper problematises ‘sectors’ as the core organising concept for spaces within social policy and ‘third sector’ theory and practice. It does so by drawing on (auto)biographical narratives from a cross-national study of activism in the UK and New Zealand that explored activists' experiences of, and motivations for, movement between the statutory and voluntary sectors. We argue that the perpetuation of sectoral thinking represents a paradox with which scholars have largely been complicit. That is, by embarking on ever more refined definitional exercises, the concept of sectors in general, and the tri-sectoral map (comprising state, market and third sector) in particular, remains uncontested. Through identifying reasons behind inter-sectoral shifts, we show how sectors are both enlisted and ‘erased’ by activists to achieve their aims, thus demonstrating the fuzziness of sectoral boundaries. (Auto)biographical approaches allow us to unpack the importance of time and place in shaping people's activism. We conclude that if researchers can learn from activists, and tread a fine line between the utility and futility of sectors as a conceptual and empirical reality, then we might escape the paradox. Thus, new pathways through ‘third sector’ spaces can be explored and alternative policy solutions, free from myopic ‘sectoral’ thinking, can be envisioned.

AB - This paper problematises ‘sectors’ as the core organising concept for spaces within social policy and ‘third sector’ theory and practice. It does so by drawing on (auto)biographical narratives from a cross-national study of activism in the UK and New Zealand that explored activists' experiences of, and motivations for, movement between the statutory and voluntary sectors. We argue that the perpetuation of sectoral thinking represents a paradox with which scholars have largely been complicit. That is, by embarking on ever more refined definitional exercises, the concept of sectors in general, and the tri-sectoral map (comprising state, market and third sector) in particular, remains uncontested. Through identifying reasons behind inter-sectoral shifts, we show how sectors are both enlisted and ‘erased’ by activists to achieve their aims, thus demonstrating the fuzziness of sectoral boundaries. (Auto)biographical approaches allow us to unpack the importance of time and place in shaping people's activism. We conclude that if researchers can learn from activists, and tread a fine line between the utility and futility of sectors as a conceptual and empirical reality, then we might escape the paradox. Thus, new pathways through ‘third sector’ spaces can be explored and alternative policy solutions, free from myopic ‘sectoral’ thinking, can be envisioned.

KW - boundary crossing

KW - sectors

KW - narrative

KW - activists

KW - identity

KW - Manchester

KW - UK

KW - Auckland

KW - New Zealand

U2 - 10.1080/14649365.2014.983148

DO - 10.1080/14649365.2014.983148

M3 - Journal article

VL - 16

SP - 315

EP - 331

JO - Social and Cultural Geography

JF - Social and Cultural Geography

SN - 1464-9365

IS - 3

ER -