The intellectual roots of Big Society

Smith, Mark J. (2010). The intellectual roots of Big Society. In: Stott, Marina ed. The Big Society Challenge. Thetford, UK: Keystone Publications/Development Trusts Association (DTA)/BASSAC/Social Enterprise East of England/LankellyChase Foundation, pp. 27–35.


This chapter examines the role of different conservative traditions informing the Big Society policy shift, highlighting how Burkean and neo-liberal assumptions shape recent policy and how different combinations or mixes of assumptions can have distinctive outcomes. The chapter also considers its implications for rethinking the relationship between state and civil society through genuinely active partnerships as well as highlighting opportunities for progressive interpretations of the idea based on liberal and socialist assumptions.

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