Islands of hope in a sea of despair: civil society in an age of austerity

Simin Davoudi, Mel Steer, Mark Shucksmith, Liz Todd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter critically engages with a number of critical questions which arise from the interplay of hope and despair in the context of neoliberal austerity and civil society responses to it. It aims to address questions such as: should we celebrate the growing contributions from voluntary sector as the best of times for a flourishing civil society; or should we reproach the decline of public services as the worst of times for a diminishing welfare state? Should we embrace civil society initiatives as a mark of resistance to neoliberal policies; or should we repel them for mopping up the consequences of such policies? Do civil society responses to austerity offer genuine or false hope? Would the flames of their actions burn strongly enough to withstand the harsh winds of neoliberal austerity and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHope under neoliberal austerity
Subtitle of host publicationresponses from civil society and civic universities
EditorsMel Steer, Simin Davoudi, Mark Shucksmith, Liz Todd
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781447356851, 9781447356844
ISBN (Print)9781447356820
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


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