Voluntary organisations and the welfare state
Taking as the point of departure the political-ideological and fiscal 'crises of the welfare state', this article emphasises recent changes in the relationship between voluntary organisations and the public sector in Norway, changes that open up new space for the voluntary sector both ideologically and as a service producer.
We question whether voluntary organisations are able to cope with new and extensive welfare problems within the more decentralised welfare state. Do they express the values, and do they possess the resources that both governmental agencies and the organisations themselves take for granted? As part of that discussion, the article questions the dominant view within the literature, namely that Scandinavia has a very weak voluntary sector.
We argue that 'state-friendly' Norway has a rather strong voluntary sector, that this sector is of a specific type, and that both of these factors have important theoretical implications not only for Scandinavia, but for an overall understanding of the voluntary sector.
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