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Constituency Groups of Alternative Action Organizations During Hard Times: A Comparison at the Solidarity Orientation and Country Levels
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
(English)In: American Behavioral Scientist, ISSN 0002-7642, E-ISSN 1552-3381Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Alternative action organizations (AAO) usually rise during economic crises to offer direct support and solidarity to their constituency groups. These groups may be less involved recipient beneficiary groups or more participative groups collaborating and creating networks of support to sustain the needs of their members. This article compensates for the lack of empirical knowledge about such groups by systematically describing AAOs’ constituency groups in nine different European countries. The analysis is based on detailed data from the websites of a random sample of more than 4,000 AAOs in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom—countries representing different welfare regimes, as well as experience of the 2008 economic crisis. Results demonstrate that there are significant intracountry variations of groups reported as major beneficiaries and participants by the AAOs, but this variation is related to the solidarity orientation of the organization rather than the country’s welfare regime or experience of economic crises. Mutual support organizations, which focus on collaborating for common interests, tend to target active constituency such as less vulnerable local communities and alternative economy consumer-producer initiatives. Distribution-oriented organizations, however, are more likely to target more vulnerable recipient beneficiary groups such as children, families, the poor, and migrants. We also show some significant country differences, as different constituency groups are represented relatively equally as targets of AAOs in Sweden, while being more “biased” toward alternative consumers and small enterprises in France. Results encourage further comparative research about constituency beneficiary and participant groups and the voluntary sector.

Keywords [en]
constituency groups, beneficiaries, solidarity, alternative action organizations, welfare regimes
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-349169DOI: 10.1177/0002764218768854OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-349169DiVA, id: diva2:1199842
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 613237Available from: 2018-04-23 Created: 2018-04-23 Last updated: 2018-04-23

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Uba, Katrin
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