An Alternative to the Market and State: Community Self-Help as a Challenge

  • Danny Burns
  • Colin C. Williams
  • Jan Windebank


For many, community self-help is not about getting a foothold onto the mainstream ladder or plugging gaps left by the state and the market, it is about developing real alternatives. In some cases these alternatives are simply coping strategies in response to deficiencies of the state and the market. In other cases they represent serious social challenges to the type of provision that is available. It is hard to see squatting for example as a long-term solution to homelessness. Home and community schooling on the other hand represent a real alternative to the status quo. To explore these issues we return to some of the arenas of community self-help which we outlined in Chapter 2. Within many of these the development of practical alternatives is very embryonic. Others, which we will explore in more detail here, are substantially more developed and can be considered as potential Trojan horses within the mainstream. The areas that we will focus on in this chapter are LETS and alternative currencies; car sharing; food and medicines; mental health; squatting and self-build schemes; community protection and home schooling. But before examining these in more detail we need briefly to place them in the context of new forms of social organisation which are beginning to shape contemporary alternatives to the state.


Alternative Currency Homeless People Mainstream Economy Home Education Economic Summit 
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Copyright information

© Danny Burns, Colin C. Williams and Jan Windebank 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danny Burns
    • 1
  • Colin C. Williams
    • 2
  • Jan Windebank
    • 3
  1. 1.University of the West of EnglandUK
  2. 2.University of LeicesterUK
  3. 3.University of SheffieldUK

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