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Observations on incivility: blind spots in third sector research and policy

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Incivility is not only a moral or political challenge but also something that should make the third sector research community think about the appropriateness of some of its widely used basic concepts. This paper sketches three different types of attitudes in the third sector that are a threat to civil society, each of them pointing to challenges for third sector research. Altogether, this leads to a fourth and final point, where it is argued that the world of associations (the third sector) and civil society are different subjects. Civicness and civility should be seen as qualities of society at large. And it is questionable to assume that association building has a kind of natural and privileged link with the making of active citizens and the building of civil society.
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Keywords: CIVICNESS; CIVIL SOCIETY; CIVILITY; THIRD SECTOR

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 2010

More about this publication?
  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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