Small Voluntary Organisations in the 'Age of Austerity'

Funding Challenges and Opportunities

  • Pauline McGovern

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Pauline McGovern
    Pages 1-7
  3. Pauline McGovern
    Pages 29-44
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 107-119

About this book


This book analyses the dynamics that underlie the awarding of public funding to small voluntary organisations in the UK. Using Bourdieu’s later work on state power, the author argues that these competitions for grants, loans and contracts are neoliberal funding ‘games’. Such games tempt grassroots organisations, she demonstrates, not just because they provide funding but because they confer a symbolic profit by defining the 'winner' and improving status. Taking part in these neoliberal funding games, however, can adversely affect the structure and development path of these organisations. Yet her conclusion is upbeat, focusing on the opportunities as well as the challenges that neoliberalism offers grassroots organisations in recompense for the moral weight that they hold within state discourse. Within supportive coalitions and with a robust evidence base that re-politicises neoliberal orthodoxy, in fact, they can choose to negotiate alternative futures within state policy or to withdraw from these funding games altogether. This thought-provoking work will appeal to students and researchers of sociology and social policy, along with scholars of Bourdieu, civil society and the voluntary sector.

Pauline McGovern is a Research Fellow based in the Faculty of Business at the University of Greenwich, UK. Her major theoretical interest is in the later work of Pierre Bourdieu. Her research strands are in the areas of civil society and wellbeing in later life.


Neoliberalism Funding games Negotiation Bourdieu Power State Policy

Authors and affiliations

  • Pauline McGovern
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of BusinessUniversity of GreenwichLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

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