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Active Citizenship: The Role of Third Sector Adult Education Within UK and Devolved Welsh Governments’ Policy Contexts. A Case Study of the Workers’ Educational Association South Wales

Holland, Daniella. 2014. Active Citizenship: The Role of Third Sector Adult Education Within UK and Devolved Welsh Governments’ Policy Contexts. A Case Study of the Workers’ Educational Association South Wales. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis examines contested concepts of active citizenship and how these have been promoted by governments and the Third Sector in the UK, principally post-1997. By focusing on devolution in Wales, in contrast to Westminster it investigates claims that devolution offers a greater capacity to reduce the democratic deficit and enable more profound citizen engagement. Central to this analysis is the case of the Workers’ Educational Association South Wales. This was used as a lens through which to scrutinise the scope for empowering approaches within the Third Sector despite its increasingly close and controversial relationship with UK governments.

The research draws on critical social analysis for the theoretical framework, to examine concepts, policies and findings. It explores the significance of structural inequalities upon active citizenship within these contexts. Previously highlighted by radical and feminist theorists the critiques focus on ‘multi-layered’ and ‘differentiated’ notions. These claimed to promote more inclusive concepts of citizenship. Through qualitative research methods such as participant observations and semi- structured interviews with UK and Welsh Government civil servants, WEA staff and learners in South Wales, it aims to unravel these concepts in relation to the practical impact. It focuses on how the UK’s Third Sector organisations, such as the WEA South Wales, have been able to promote more radical styles of active citizenship in line with educative and empowering community development pedagogies.

Key findings highlight challenges and contradictions in UK policies and practices, while revealing complexities faced by governments when trying to encourage active citizenship without prescribing how citizens should participate. Conversely, it reveals unexpected outcomes conveyed by the research participants, which illustrate positive examples of active learning for active citizenship in the Third Sector despite wider constraints and pressures. It confirms that differentiated support is required for citizens to participate on their own terms.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00010154

Keywords:

active citizenship; Third Sector; Wales; devolution; Workers' Educational Association; citizenship education

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Date:

2014

Item ID:

10154

Date Deposited:

12 May 2014 10:39

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2018 18:12

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/10154

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