Changing narratives, changing relationships: a new environment for voluntary action?
Hughes, Ciaran; Ketola, Markus (2018)

In the context of shifting policy approaches and decreasing state funding, contemporary government policy narratives are beginning to recognise the changing relationships between government and the voluntary and community sector. In the UK, while much of the partnership rhetoric of
the New Labour years remains in place, this article explores how assumptions about the role and nature of the sector and the terms on which it engages with government are rapidly changing in the context of Northern Ireland. Drawing on an analysis of the policy environment in recent decades
and in-depth interview data collected as part of research conducted in Northern Ireland, the article demonstrates how the narratives that frame the sector’s identity are being challenged by new policy narratives and competing representations of the sectorgovernment relationship.

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