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The Ages of VoluntarismHow we got to the Big Society$
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Matthew Hilton and James McKay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264829

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264829.001.0001

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Faith, charity and citizenship

Faith, charity and citizenship

Christianity, voluntarism and the state in the 1980s

(p.135) 7 Faith, charity and citizenship
The Ages of Voluntarism

Eliza Filby

British Academy

This chapter explores the oppositional role of the voluntary sector in a period of hardship and social unrest, considering the Anglican Church's response to Thatcherism. Despite secularisation and declining denominational identity, the Church was still a central part of the charitable and welfare sector in the 1980s, when the Thatcher governments championed the role of voluntarism in retraining and work schemes, in an era of mass unemployment. However, its response to Thatcherism was complex and internally divided. Church Action with the Unemployed (CAWTU) was framed in a ‘non-political’, paternalistic way, whereas 1985's Faith in the City report provided a critique of the underlying causes of poverty, articulating an opposition to reactionary social thought that can be traced back to nineteenth-century Christian Socialism.

Keywords:   Anglican Church, Thatcherism, faith, voluntarism, unemployment, charity, citizenship, welfare sector, Churc Action with the Unemployed

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