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Envisioning the third sector's welfare role: critical discourse analysis of 'post-devolution' public policy in the UK 1998-2012

Chaney, Paul ORCID: and Wincott, Daniel ORCID: 2014. Envisioning the third sector's welfare role: critical discourse analysis of 'post-devolution' public policy in the UK 1998-2012. Social Policy and Administration 48 (7) , pp. 757-781. 10.1111/spol.12062

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Welfare state theory has struggled to come to terms with the role of the third sector. It has often categorized welfare states in terms of the pattern of interplay between state social policies and the structure of the labour market. Moreover, it has frequently offered an exclusive focus on state policy – thereby failing to substantially recognize the role of the formally organized third sector. This study offers a corrective view. Against the backdrop of the international shift to multi-level governance, it analyses the policy discourse of third sector involvement in welfare governance following devolution in the UK. It reveals the changing and contrasting ways in which post-devolution territorial politics envisions the sector's role as a welfare provider. The mixed methods analysis compares policy framing and the structural narratives associated with the development of the third sector across the four constituent polities of the UK since 1998. The findings reveal how devolution has introduced a new spatial policy dynamic. Whilst there are elements of continuity between polities – such as the increasing salience of the third sector in welfare provision – policy narratives also provide evidence of the territorialization of third sector policy. From a methodological standpoint, this underlines the distinctive and complementary role discourse-based analysis can play in understanding contemporary patterns and processes shaping welfare governance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: Third sector; Welfare pluralism; Policy; Discourse; Devolution; Framing
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0144-5596
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 00:14

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