The politics of austerity has seen governments across Europe cut back on welfare provision. As the State retreats, this edited collection explores secular and faith-based grassroots social action in Germany and the United Kingdom that has evolved in response to changing economic policy and expanding needs, from basic items such as food to more complex means to move out of poverty.
Bringing together scholars from different disciplines and practitioners in several areas of social intervention, the book explores how the conceptualization and constitutive practices of citizenship and community are changing because of the retreat of the State and the challenge of meeting social and material needs, creating new opportunities for local activism.
The book provides new ways of thinking about social and political belonging and about the relations between individual, collective, and State responsibility.
"This timely volume engages scholars of citizenship, social activists and those concerned for the future of social democracy in Europe". Bob Deacon, Professor of International Social Policy, University of Sheffield
Shana Cohen is Deputy Director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, UK and Associate Researcher with the Sociology Department, University of Cambridge. She is leading on a comparative analysis of local responses to austerity in Europe.
Christina Fuhr has a PhD in Sociology from Oxford University. She is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge and has focused her research on food banks and homeless shelters in Berlin and London.
Jan-Jonathan Bock holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, and is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Woolf Institute and a Research Associate at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He is studying crisis experiences, changing practices of citizenship, and realities of pluralism in Berlin and Rome.
Introduction: social activism, belonging and citizenship in a period of crisis ~ Shana Cohen and Jan-Jonathan Bock
Part I: The social consequences of welfare policy
Fulfilling basic human needs: the welfare state after Beveridge ~ Patrick Diamond
Social division and resentment in the aftermath of the economic slump ~ Gabriella Elgenius;
Part II: The practice of social good
Austerity and social welfare in the UK: a perspective from the advice sector ~ Amardeep Bansil
Breaking the hold of debt: Cambridge Money Advice Centre ~ John Morris
Community finance: the emergence of credit unions in London ~ Paul A Jones and Michelle Howlin
Finding employment and living a good life in London ~ Chris Price
The Tafel and food poverty in Germany ~ Sabine Werth
Addressing food poverty in the UK ~ Sarah Greenwood
Helping the homeless: a soup kitchen in London ~ Martin Stone
Part III: Social change and neoliberalism
Social initiatives and social solidarity under austerity ~ Christina Fuhr
The new economy of poverty ~ Stefan Selke
Challenges for the struggle against austerity in Britain and Europe ~ Thomas Jeffrey Miley
Part IV: Situating solidarity in perspective
Individualism and community in historical perspective ~ Jon Lawrence
Aiming for reconnection: responsible citizenship ~ Christopher Baker
Conclusion: citizenship, community and solidarity at the end of the welfare state ~ Jan-Jonathan Bock and Shana Cohen