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Civil society and the Health and Social Care Act in England and Wales: Theory and praxis for the twenty-first century

Scambler, Graham and Scambler, Sasha and Speed, Ewen (2014) 'Civil society and the Health and Social Care Act in England and Wales: Theory and praxis for the twenty-first century.' Social Science & Medicine, 123. pp. 210-216. ISSN 0277-9536

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Abstract

In this paper we revisit the notion of civil society in the light of recent attempts to privatize health care in England via the passing of the Health and Social Care Act of 2013. This legislation promises a re-commodification of the National Health Service (NHS) in England. The Bill was bitterly contested during its passage through parliament, most vigorously in 2011. Much of the opposition occurred at a time of widespread, global rebellion, most notably in the 'Arab uprisings' and through the 'occupy movement'. Despite a plethora of protests, we argue, a non-porous boundary between what we call the 'protest sector' of civil society and the wider public sphere of the lifeworld has become apparent in England. A good deal of collective action, whether campaign-focused (like opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill) or more generalized (like rejections of corporate greed), has so far proved ineffective, at least in the short-term; no crisis of legitimation is apparent. We highlight a new 'class/command dynamic', leading to oligarchic rule, in the present era of financial capitalism. We use this health care case-study to re-examine the notion of civil society and its changing properties in what Castells calls a 'networked society'. The contribution ends with a discussion of the role of the sociologist re-civil society and the advocacy of both 'action' and 'foresight sociologies'.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NHS; Health and Social Care Act; Privatization of health care; Class/command dynamic; Rethinking civil society; Action and foresight sociologies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2014 09:15
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 13:04
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/11192

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