From the third sector to the Big Society: Consensus or contention in the 2010 UK general election?

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The 2010 election marked a turning-point in British politics, with a new Coalition government replacing the Labour administration which had been in power for thirteen years. This resulted in an apparent change in policy on the third sector, from a period of 'hyperactive mainstreaming' in which significant support was provided for the sector to the 'Big Society' agenda under which voluntary and community action are promoted as an alternative to state intervention. This article explores this transition through analysis of the presentation of third sector politics in the election campaign and the subsequent development of these under the new government.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-363
Number of pages17
JournalVoluntary Sector Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • Third Sector, Big Society, Policy, Election