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The Third Sector in Europe

The Third Sector in Europe

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Book DescriptionThis book explores Europe’s third sector - the non-profit organizations and providers of social services such as mutuals, co-operatives, associations, voluntary organizations and charities: these elements of a civil society are important yet often overlooked features in contemporary socio-economics and social policy.

The pathbreaking contributions examine the third sector in Europe within a framework which seeks to conceptually integrate two hitherto separate debates: that concerning the ‘social economy’ of co-operatives and mutuals, and the debate on voluntary, civil society and non-profit organizations.

Theoretical concepts are developed and debated, and the relationship between the development of national societies, public welfare and the third sector are explored. The book goes on to discuss the crucial role of the state and public policies - including measures that have been introduced at the European Union level. The contributions reveal the need for policy perspectives and forms of governance that respect the added value of third sector organizations, without separating them. It is argued that, in future European welfare models, it is not the size of a third sector that matters, but rather the overall impact of its civic principles. With its informative contributions about the third sector in various EU countries, the theoretical approaches offered and the ways in which policy issues are dealt with, this book will be of great interest to a wide-ranging audience including: social policy scholars, economists, political scientists and policymakers with an interest in the evolution of the third sector.