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Society and the state: does size matter?

A guide to books, journals and websites relevant to debates over the size of government and the role of volunteers in social care. This guide has been written to provide background information and sources for the Speakers' Corner Trust's Forum for Debate, titled 'Society and the State: does size matter?'. 

Forum for Debate

The British Library is providing background information and sources for further reading about each topic featured in Speakers’ Corner Trust’s Forum for Debate.

The focus of each bibliography will be on recent work that is accessible to someone with a general interest in the topic. All of the references in this resource guide are to materials that are either available without charge through the internet, or that may be accessed at the Library reading rooms in London.

Speakers’ Corner Trust is a registered charity which promotes free expression and public debate. The Forum for Debate series is intended to cover issues of general public interest, with invited contributions from policy workers, commentators, academics and campaigners on either side of the debate. More information can be found on the Speakers’ Corner website at:

The topic: Society and the State: does size matter? – March 2010

The size of government, and extent that it should be involved in our everyday lives, has recently been subject to much debate. Some argue that a large government is intrusive and takes freedoms away from individuals, families and social groups. Large government is characterised as creating too much regulation and dependency on the state. 

On the other side, some would argue that over-reliance on the voluntary sector to provide welfare risks excluding those most in need of protection. They suggest that responsibility should fall to governments to ensure that all people in a country have access to a minimum level of social and economic provision.

This bibliography covers arguments from both sides. It includes analysis of the social care and inclusion policies of the 1997- 2010 Labour government. Use this bibliography to find out more about these debates, locate books and journals in our collections, and discover organisations and resources on this topic.  

PDF files

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