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There has been a mixed reaction to David Cameron's portrayal of the "Big Society." The latest attempt I have heard was from Rt. Hon. Michael Portillo in a wide-ranging and excellent address to the annual networking meeting of the Institute for Work-Based Learning at Middlesex University on 21st October.
In answer to a question, Michael, offered the following interpretation of the Big Society: " a rhetorical device to change public attitudes over time, expressed with a view to persuasive or impressive effect."
But, wait a moment! The Value Network Approach (VNA) defined Social Citizenship as: "The quality and value of relationships enjoyed with the larger society through the exercise of corporate citizenship as a member of local, regional and global communities." (Verna Allee, ISBN: 0-7506-75918)
There is a pronounced resonance between the Big Society idea originally articulated by David Cameron and Social Citizenship. Using VNA we can see:
  • that success with the Big Society can and should contribute to the asset base of the nation
  • how individuals in whatever role they play in life can direct their energies collectively to that or any other cause
A useful contribution may well be to visualise where Social Citizenship fits within the bigger picture of a nation's assets. Such a view is shown below, with a link to a larger image here

The value network approach routinely incorporates the above framework when assessing the impact on assets of human activity. It links the contribution of individuals acting to benefit themselves, to considerations of the impact of actions on the wider community. We can move from the imprecision of a "rhetorical device" to practical, easy to follow steps that can be replicated at any level, using new technologies.
For more information, see here

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