Voluntary Sector Review
An international journal of third sector research, policy and practice

Exploring the implications of the demise of citizen advocacy as a form of volunteering

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Louise HardwickUniversity of Liverpool, UK

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This article seeks to understand citizen advocacy as an outlying form of volunteering that has distinctive characteristics and implications for the ways in which volunteering is framed. It does so by tracing the history of citizen advocacy, and exploring how its intention and exercise can be understood through Kant’s enunciations on dignity. It further explores how this type of volunteering comes under specific pressure in a UK public policy regime, based on neoliberal rationality. To assist in the analysis, the article draws on a study into the scale of and need for citizen advocacy in local communities. What emerges is that advocacy has fallen subject to pervasive market principles that erode recognition of its significance by reducing its value to that which is measurable, usually construed as short-term and outcomes-led interventions. In this way, citizen advocacy has become subsumed into the scope of formal services.

Louise HardwickUniversity of Liverpool, UK

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