Comparing Thistles and Roses: The Application of Governmental-Voluntary Sector Relations Theory to Scotland and England


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Abstract

Typologies of government-voluntary sector relations mostly categorize nation-level situations, and omit consideration of intra-national differences. They are also rarely subject to empirical testing and subsequent theoretical development. This paper reports on research to apply Kuhnle and Selle's (2002) relational typology, which characterizes the experience of “Britain,” to a study of Scottish and English voluntary organizations' relations with government. Contrary to Kuhnle and Selle, the paper demonstrates – through survey data – a divergence between Scotland and England, within the “British” context, and advances the case for further testing of such conceptual typologies. The methodological challenges in moving from a theoretical framework to a research design capable of field application, using survey methods, are illustrated and discussed. Further directions for theoretically led work are suggested.

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