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Isomorphic processes and discursive strategies: Swedish study associations caught between civil society, the state and the market
Ersta Sköndal University College, Institute for Civil Society Studies. Ersta Sköndal University College, Department of Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0207-6255
Ersta Sköndal University College, Institute for Civil Society Studies. Ersta Sköndal University College, Department of Social Sciences.
2010 (English)In: ISTR Conference Working Paper Series, Volume VII: Facing Crises: Challenges and Opportunities Confronting the Third Sector and Civil Society, 2010Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Several challenges, both external and internal, to the identity and position of civil society organizations are present today. Organizations may be tempted or coerced into closer cooperation with the state. There are also incentives to become more market-oriented. The paper deals with such struggles through an investigation of Swedish study associations, involved in popular education or “folkbildning”. At the core of the study is the balance these organizations need to strike between on the one hand being similar to each other in sharing an identity as civil society organizations, exhibiting traits distancing them from the state and the market, and on the other hand displaying differences from other study associations, thus, demonstrating a distinct ideological profile. This also concerns the double strivings for legitimacy and efficiency, which may coincide but can also bring conflicting goals and agendas for civil society organizations. The cases also illustrate how civil society organizations handle an influx of market logics and trends of professionalization when this clashes with a civil society identity and expectations in the organizational context. The question posed is: How do Swedish study associations balance strivings for legitimacy and efficiency and maintain a distinct ideological profile while under isomorphic pressures?

This is studied through an analysis of annual reports in which study associations position themselves and face their challenges rhetorically as well an analysis of interviews performed with representatives from each of the nine Swedish study associations.

The findings indicate different isomorphic processes affecting study associations of today. Cultural resources are used to handle partly conflicting myths, which also lead to varied discursive strategies and incidences of decoupling within these organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Keyword [en]
Isomorphism, Legitimacy, Decoupling, Cultural resources, Popular education
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-1591OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-1591DiVA: diva2:533289
Conference
9th International Conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) Istanbul, Turkey July 7-10, 2010
Available from: 2012-06-13 Created: 2012-06-13 Last updated: 2015-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Åberg, Pellevon Essen, Johan
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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