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'Distinction' in the third sector

Macmillan, Rob (2013) 'Distinction' in the third sector. Voluntary Sector Review, 4 (1). pp. 39-54. ISSN 2040-8056

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204080513X661572

Identification Number/DOI: 10.1332/204080513X661572

Claims for the distinctiveness of third sector organisations are a relatively widespread and familiar feature of third sector commentary and analysis. This paper reviews relevant theoretical and empirical research to examine the idea of distinctiveness, arguing that such claims remain inconclusive. Informed by a view of the third sector as a contested ‘field’, and drawing on Bourdieu’s notion of ‘distinction’, the paper suggests that research attention should focus additionally on the strategic purpose of claims for distinctiveness, rather than simply continue what might be a ‘holy grail’ search for its existence. The paper uses this argument to complicate and extend the idea of the third sector as a ‘strategic unity’, and concludes by suggesting some further lines of enquiry for third sector research.

Type of Work:Article
Date:January 2013 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Third Sector Research Centre
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Keywords:third sector, distinctiveness, strategic unity, Bourdieu
Subjects:H Social Sciences (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Policy Press
ID Code:1408
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