Mutual Aid in the Welfare State
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Mutual Aid in the Welfare State is divided into four parts. The first part outlines the idea of organizational form as the way that the people in an organization are organized, and distinguishes three types of voluntary organization: the third of these is identified as voluntary organizational form. After a discussion of the role of values in Social Science, the organizational tradition of Anarchism is explained, as being the most suitable way of looking at mutual aid groups and voluntary organizational form. As well as an exposition of the classic anarchist theorists, the development of anarchist organizational forms in Spain before the Civil War is used as a practical illustration of how anarchist organization theory has developed and works. The second part of the thesis turns to sociology. It was observed in the first part that although anarchist theory was comprehensive enough in its dealings with federalism, the mutualist elements of the theory were under-developed. This gap in mutualist theory is filled by a consideration of community and organizational sociology, which are both criticized for the rationalist bias that intrudes in the way they have developed. The main sources used are Tonnies and Weber. A theory of mutual aid is then developed from a consideration of what mutual aid groups are not. This is then linked in with the theories of Habermas and writings from modern feminism. The second part concludes with a criticism of the oligarchical theories of Michels, which have up till now been the main sociological paradigm for voluntary organizing. The third part of the thesis introduces cases from the literature on voluntary groups in an expansion of the ideas of mutual aid which were developed theoretically. In the course of this, distinctions between different types of mutual aid group are drawn, together with an analysis of different problems faced by each type. Distinctions between mutual aid groups and some commonly overlapping categories of organization are drawn also. The third part concludes with an examination of the relationships between the state and mutual aid groups. The fourth and last section of the thesis is devoted to a more detailed examination of the Scottish Pre-School Playgroups Association. SPPA has the classic organizational form laid out in anarchist organization theory, illustrates many of the points made about mutual aid groups in other parts of the thesis, and manages to co-exist with the state. The argument of the thesis is that one example is all that is needed to show that mutualist and anarchist organization is a viable alternative to hierarchical organization which people are typically more used to. SPPA is that example, and consequently serves as an empirical illustration of the rest of the thesis.