The voluntary sector in welfare: understanding the factors that have influenced its development in Cyprus from the mid-end colonial period to the present

Patsalidou, Olivia (2014) The voluntary sector in welfare: understanding the factors that have influenced its development in Cyprus from the mid-end colonial period to the present. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In the long history of Cyprus, the ‘persona’, contributions, underpinning ideologies, role and historical trajectory of the voluntary sector, have not, unlike in other countries, been the subject of any substantial empirical and theoretical exploration, remaining under-researched questions. The main purpose of the research is to understand the rich past of the Cypriot voluntary sector and trace its trajectory to the present. How and why did the voluntary sector develop? Which factors lie behind its development?

Using the framework of non-profit regimes, the main research tool for exploring voluntary sector development and its attached social origins theory, the research moves beyond the dominant state-society approach to study the Cypriot voluntary sector trajectory. Using qualitative rather than a quantitative methodology, and moving between the micro, meso and macro levels of analysis, the research explores welfare actors, institutions, structures, cultural and non-cultural elements, including any aspect which provides insight into how and why the voluntary sector in Cyprus developed the way that it has. It asks separately about the relationships between the voluntary sector and a) the state/regime, b) the Church/religion and c) society, exploring explanations for the distinctive features of Cyprus’ voluntary sector. The thesis furthermore makes use of the tools of historical institutionalism, specifically critical junctures and path dependency.

Evidence not only challenges the narrow view in the literature, both theoretically and methodologically, for the study of voluntary sector development, but also the restricted experiences of non-profit regime typologies and their assumptions about regimes, welfare negotiations and power relationships. Hence, the research argues for a refined approach to investigate voluntary sector trajectories and suggests new dimensions, beyond the ‘traditional’ origins factors of non-profit regime theory.

The thesis’ main arguments, mostly underexplored or missed in non-profit regime research, are that the voluntary sector not only derived from the Cypriot regime and its distinct evolutionary process, influenced by the dynamic historic and socio-political context and path dependency forces, but was also a source for the welfare state’s development. Religion, both as institutional structure and cultural and political force, shaped associational life; it also had a profound impact in shaping the voluntary sector’s major transformation points. The thesis also reflects how societal synergies, families, communities, and gender can contribute to our understanding of voluntary sector trajectories. Underlying forces emerge as authoritarianism, a weak welfare regime growing under the shadow of political turbulence, social, national/ethnic identity issues and empowerment.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Pascall, G.
Lymbery, M.
Keywords: Voluntary sector development, welfare, regime, religion, society
Subjects: H Social sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Item ID: 14336
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2014 15:09
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2017 10:40

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