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From Awkwardness to Action Christian Voluntarism in Denmark Beyond the Sector Model of Civil Society

Sevelsted, Anders LU (2020) In International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Abstract

The article challenges the theoretical “sectoral model” of civil society through a historical case study and offers an alternative actor-centered approach inspired by American pragmatism. First, three separate strands of research are identified that each conceptualize civil society as a sector with institutional independence, a single normative logic, and fixed roles. Building on archival material on the Danish temperance organization the Blue Cross, the article then compares the theory to the empirical case. It is argued that the CSO exposes three types of “awkwardness” in the sector model, as the Blue Cross (1) de-differentiated and became part of the public system of treatment for alcoholism, (2) applied multiple logics depending on... (More)

The article challenges the theoretical “sectoral model” of civil society through a historical case study and offers an alternative actor-centered approach inspired by American pragmatism. First, three separate strands of research are identified that each conceptualize civil society as a sector with institutional independence, a single normative logic, and fixed roles. Building on archival material on the Danish temperance organization the Blue Cross, the article then compares the theory to the empirical case. It is argued that the CSO exposes three types of “awkwardness” in the sector model, as the Blue Cross (1) de-differentiated and became part of the public system of treatment for alcoholism, (2) applied multiple logics depending on the audience it addressed, and (3) acted in the role of “interpreter” rather than “antenna”—and specifically interpreted the needs of alcoholics in mutual understanding with state authorities. Finally, an alternative approach to the study of CSOs is proposed: a historically sensitive approach that differently from an ahistorical model analyzes collective actors historically, affirmatively, and situationally through their application of contentious and non-contentious repertoires of civic action.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
in press
subject
keywords
American pragmatism, Civil society, Collective action, Temperance movement, Voluntarism
in
International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
publisher
Human Sciences Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85092505398
ISSN
0891-4486
DOI
10.1007/s10767-020-09378-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ca5b6dc7-6400-4591-bdae-e9114de7f81e
date added to LUP
2021-01-08 12:58:23
date last changed
2021-01-08 12:58:23
@article{ca5b6dc7-6400-4591-bdae-e9114de7f81e,
  abstract     = {<p>The article challenges the theoretical “sectoral model” of civil society through a historical case study and offers an alternative actor-centered approach inspired by American pragmatism. First, three separate strands of research are identified that each conceptualize civil society as a sector with institutional independence, a single normative logic, and fixed roles. Building on archival material on the Danish temperance organization the Blue Cross, the article then compares the theory to the empirical case. It is argued that the CSO exposes three types of “awkwardness” in the sector model, as the Blue Cross (1) de-differentiated and became part of the public system of treatment for alcoholism, (2) applied multiple logics depending on the audience it addressed, and (3) acted in the role of “interpreter” rather than “antenna”—and specifically interpreted the needs of alcoholics in mutual understanding with state authorities. Finally, an alternative approach to the study of CSOs is proposed: a historically sensitive approach that differently from an ahistorical model analyzes collective actors historically, affirmatively, and situationally through their application of contentious and non-contentious repertoires of civic action.</p>},
  author       = {Sevelsted, Anders},
  issn         = {0891-4486},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Human Sciences Press},
  series       = {International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society},
  title        = {From Awkwardness to Action Christian Voluntarism in Denmark Beyond the Sector Model of Civil Society},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10767-020-09378-0},
  doi          = {10.1007/s10767-020-09378-0},
  year         = {2020},
}