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The Ages of Voluntarism – How we got to the Big Society - British Academy Scholarship Online
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The Ages of Voluntarism: How we got to the Big Society

Matthew Hilton and James McKay


This book provides the historical background to the rise of the Big Society, surveying the history of voluntarism over the last century. Politicians and commentators have long bemoaned the supposed decline of civic life, fretting about its health and its future. In fact, the real story of voluntarism over the last hundred years has not been decline, but constant evolution and change. Whether we use the terms charity, philanthropy, civil society, non-governmental organisations, the third sector or the Big Society, voluntary endeavour is one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas of British publi ... More

Keywords: voluntarism, voluntary sector, civil society, civic life, philanthropy, Big Society, charity, twentieth-century Britain, third sector, non-governmental organisations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780197264829
Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013 DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264829.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Hilton, editor
Professor of Social History, University of Birmingham

James McKay, editor
Research Fellow, University of Birmingham

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