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Young people are often at the forefront of democratic activism, whether self-organised or supported by youth workers and community development professionals. Focusing on youth activism for greater equality, liberty and mutual care – radical democracy – this timely collection explores the movement’s impacts on community organisations and workers. Essays from the Global North and Global South cover the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental activism and the struggles of refugees.

At a time of huge global challenges, youth participation is a dynamic lens through which all community development scholars and participants can rethink their approaches.

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Institutions, Governance and Existential Challenges

This book explores how the uncertainties of the 21st century present existential challenges to civil society. These include changing modes of governance (through devolution and Brexit), austerity, migration, growing digital divides, issues of (mis)trust and democratic confidence, welfare delivery and the COVID-19 pandemic and the contemporary threat to minority languages and cultures.

Presenting original empirical findings, this book brings together core strands of social theory to provide a new way of understanding existential challenges to the form and function of civil society. It highlights pressing social issues and transferable lessons that will inform policy and practice in today’s age of uncertainty.

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Learning from the Pandemic

EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY licence.

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the landscape of voluntary action. Some volunteering projects had to be paused, while others were delivered in different ways, but across all four UK nations large numbers of people began volunteering for the first time.

This book provides an overview of the constraints and opportunities of mobilising voluntary action across the four UK jurisdictions during the pandemic. Sector experts and academics examine the divergent voluntary action policy frameworks adopted, the state and non-state supported volunteer responses, the changes in the profile of volunteers and the plans to sustain their involvement.

This book addresses the urgent policy and practice need for evidence-based considerations to support the recovery from the pandemic and to prepare for future emergencies.

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Responses, Impacts and Adaptation

The voluntary sector was central to the COVID-19 response: fulfilling basic needs, highlighting new and existing inequalities and coordinating action where the state had been slow to respond.

This book curates rigorous academic, policy and practice-based research into the response and adaptation of the UK voluntary sector during the pandemic. Contributions explore the ways the sector responded to new challenges and the longer-term consequences for the sector’s workforce, volunteers and beneficiaries.

Written for researchers and practitioners, this book considers what the voluntary sector can learn from the pandemic to maximise its contribution in the event of future crises.

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In this challenging and original study, Wistow positions social policy within political economy and social contract debates.

Focusing on individual, intergenerational and societal outcomes related to health, place and social mobility in England, he draws on empirical evidence to show how the social contract produces longstanding, highly patterned and inequitable consequences in these areas. Globalisation and the political economy simultaneously contribute to the extent and nature of social problems and to social policy’s capacity to address them effectively.

Applying social contract theory, this book shows that society needs to take ownership of the outcomes it produces and critically interrogates the individualism inherent within the political economy.

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Researching Poverty and Low-Income Family Life during the Pandemic

Epdf and ePUB available Open Access under CC BY NC ND licence.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone – but, for some, existing social inequalities were exacerbated, and this created a vital need for research.

Researchers found themselves operating in a new and difficult context; they needed to act quickly and think collectively to embark on new research despite the constraints of the pandemic. This book presents the collaborative process of 14 research projects working together during COVID-19. It documents their findings and explains how researchers in the voluntary sector and academia responded methodologically, practically, and ethically to researching poverty and everyday life for families on low incomes during the pandemic.

This book synthesises the challenges of researching during COVID-19 to improve future policy and practice.

Also see ‘A Year Like No Other: Family Life on a Low Income in COVID-19’ to find out more about the lived experiences of low-income families during the pandemic.

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A Hidden Deprivation
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Michael Drew’s review of the causes and effects of food poverty in Ireland offers the first full-length study of this significant and protracted issue that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

The book brings together the complex picture emerging from interviews with users of food aid. Their pathways into and through food poverty are impacted by the policies and practices of government and employers with wide-ranging implications. The work explores the international landscape of food poverty and situates both experiences and responses in a comparative context. It considers how these results contribute to an understanding of the problem and what action should be taken.

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Lived Experiences in the Irish Welfare Space
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Underpinned by the idea of the right to a ‘basic minimum’, welfare states are a major feature of many societies. However, the lived experiences of persons seeking and receiving welfare payments can often be overlooked.

This book seeks to remedy this omission by honouring lived experience as valuable, insightful and necessary. It draws on qualitative interviews with 19 people receiving various working age welfare payments in Ireland to explore stigma, social reciprocity and the notions of the deserving and undeserving poor, and to analyse welfare conditionality in the Irish context.

Breaking new ground, this book offers original research findings which contest and inform policy both within Ireland and beyond.

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Building Bridges, Not Barriers
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How many questions could you answer in a pub quiz about British values?

Designed to ensure new migrants have accepted British values and integrated, the UK’s citizenship test is often portrayed as a bad pub quiz with answers few citizens know. With the launch of a new post-Brexit immigration system, this is a critical time to change the test.

Thom Brooks draws on first-hand experience of taking the test, and interviews with key figures including past Home Secretaries, to expose the test as ineffective and a barrier to citizenship. This accessible guide offers recommendations for transforming the citizenship test into a ‘bridge to citizenship’ which fosters greater inclusion and integration.

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The word ‘refugee’ is both evocative and contested; it means different things to different people. For lawyers, the main legal reference point is the UN Refugee Convention of 1951.

This concise and engaging book follows the structure of the Convention to explore international refugee law. Including an introduction to the historical and legal context, Colin Yeo draws on his experience as an immigration barrister to explain the present-day legal framework for global refugee protection. Chapters consider:

  • well-founded fear;

  • persecution;

  • the loss of refugee status and exclusion;

  • the rights of refugees;

  • and state responses to refugee claims.

The book includes studies of key legal cases, reviews the successes and failures of the Convention and looks ahead to the future, including the impact of climate change and the Global Compact on Refugees.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists.

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