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Dimensions of power: A Bourdieusian approach to control and influence in the voluntary sector

McGovern, PBM 2011, Dimensions of power: A Bourdieusian approach to control and influence in the voluntary sector , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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    Abstract

    This extended case study investigates locally-founded voluntary self-help groups for people with chronic disease and how they change over time. It explores a self-help group and its partnerships with five local organisations. The aims are both to reach substantive findings and to elaborate Bourdieusian theory. The key concepts are habitus (disposition) and capital (resources). The methods are: participant observation (110 hours) and depth interviews (23). In the self-help group, a funding crisis arose after its Lottery grant was exhausted in 2006. This led to the election of honorary officers who had skills in gaining external funding. These members gained short-term primary care trust (PCT) funding to expand and professionalise the organisation but when this finished, they cut the range of therapies on offer against the wishes of many members. This led to challenges to their leadership from the family that founded the group and the volunteers. The evidence suggests that oligarchic tendencies within such groups may be resisted both formally through the democratic structure and informally through volunteering activities. Among cross-sector partners, the PCT had most influence over the direction of development of the self-help group because it provided grant funding. Even so, the group was not saturated by PCT targets. It retained a unique identity derived from its founding mission. The evidence shows that, because such groups are institutionally independent, it is possible for them to retain substantial control over their own development. These substantive findings may be useful to researchers and to small voluntary organisations. In addition, a theoretical model of the power relations of development in small self-help groups has been created, with dimensions that range from face-to-face contact between individuals through to the influence of state power on organisational assumptions. This model is in the early stages of elaboration and can be tested in further research.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Contributors: Bagnall, G(Supervisor)
    Additional Information:
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences
    Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Institutional Repository
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 14:34
    Last Modified: 18 Feb 2014 14:27
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26809

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