Learning beyond the state: the pedagogical spaces of the CAB service

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This paper discusses the role played by the Citizens Advice Bureau service in enabling British citizenship and the way in which such a project has been facilitated through two different processes of learning. First, the service has been part of a wider network of organisations within the UK, which have promoted a pedagogic process whereby citizens learn about their various rights. Second, the CAB service over the long term has sought to promote a second kind of learning, as individual bureaux seek to learn of the challenges facing their clients. The CAB service is particularly interesting because it seeks to further these two different kinds of learning - learning about and by the state - as part of the 'shadow state'. The paper uses this backdrop as a context within which to examine two specific instances of pedagogy within the contemporary CAB service. Drawing on documentary research and interviews with employees of the service, I explore, first of all, the access strategy that it has employed by in order to reach out to more clients. Second, I discuss the way in which the service - through its social policy work - enables the British state, in a variety of different contexts, to learn about its citizens and about the impacts of its policies on its citizens. Taken together, such themes illustrate the key role played by different kinds of learning as part of CAB service's broader project of facilitating citizen identities in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-738
Number of pages14
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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