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Co-constituting neoliberalism: faith-based organisations, co-option, and resistance in the UK

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  • Andrew Williams
  • Paul Cloke
  • Samuel Thomas

Abstract

The increasing prominence of faith-based organisations (FBOs) in providing welfare in the UK has typically been regarded as a by-product of neoliberalism, as the gaps left by shrinking public service provision and the contracting out of service delivery have been filled by these and other Third Sector organisations. In this way, FBOs have been represented as merely being co-opted as inexpensive resource providers into the wider governmentalities of neoliberal politics. In this paper we critically question how the concept of neoliberalism has been put to work in accounts of voluntary sector co-option, and argue instead for a recognition of different manifestations of secularism and religion, and their connections to changing political–economic and social contexts. Using the illustration of one particular FBO in the UK, we trace how neoliberalism can be co-constituted through the involvement of FBOs, which can offer various pathways of resistance in and through the pursuit of alternative philosophies of care and political activism. Keywords: governmentality, neoliberalism, faith-based organisations, resistance, care

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Williams & Paul Cloke & Samuel Thomas, 2012. "Co-constituting neoliberalism: faith-based organisations, co-option, and resistance in the UK," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(6), pages 1479-1501, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:6:p:1479-1501
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