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The Third Sector in Europe

Edited by Adalbert Evers, Professor for Comparative Health and Social Policy, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany and Jean-Louis Laville, Researcher in Economic Sociology and Director of the Laboratory LSCI, National Center of Scientific Research, Paris, France
This book explores Europe’s third sector – the non-profit organisations and providers of social services such as mutuals, co-operatives, associations, voluntary organisations and charities: these elements of a civil society are important yet often overlooked features in contemporary socio-economics and social policy.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: $146.00 Web: $131.40
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 400 7
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Welfare Economics
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Economics of Social Policy
This book explores Europe’s third sector – the non-profit organisations and providers of social services such as mutuals, co-operatives, associations, voluntary organisations 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 organisations.

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 organisations, 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.
‘. . . an original and challenging work about the roles and visions of the third sector in an integrated Europe.’
– Jerzy Krzyszkowski, European Journal of Social Work

‘This set of essays and theoretical formulations provides productive insights on the transformation of the welfare state, of elements of market capitalism, and of broad sets of social institutions such as the family and the local community, linking developments to individual national histories and to underlying political and economic changes, some fostered by globalization. . . this is a highly useful book and should be consulted by anyone wishing to race third sector changes individual societies in Western Europe. It also offers productive ideas on which additional analytical models could be based.’
– Hans C. Palmer, Comparative Economic Studies

‘. . . the volume. . . is very worthwhile reading. There are many good articles and background stories. A volume focusing on the third sector in Europe has been long overdue.’
– Annette Zimmer, Public Management Review

‘The Third Sector in Europe is a stimulating book, the product of a good deal of collective deliberation. It offers a nice alternative to the theorizing about the third sector on the other side of the Atlantic. Anyone interested in the theory of the third sector should have a copy.’
– Mark Lyons, Voluntas: International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing

‘This book is a welcome addition to the literature on the third sector in Europe. It explores non-profit organisations and providers of social welfare services such as mutuals, co-operatives, associations, voluntary organisations and charities. Drawing together this wider perspective the book makes a valued contribution to our understanding of the concept of civil society.’
– Ken Spencer, Local Government Studies

‘This edited volume on comparative European third-sector research brings together a range of prominent authors. It contains contributions of renowned experts from several disciplinary fields, namely sociology, economics and political science, who cooperate in the European Research Network, EMES. This volume aims at a broad target group by presenting some basic information on Europe’s Third Sector, and in providing theoretical analyses and proposing strategies for policymakers. . . This volume conquers this challenge very successfully.’
– Ulrich Otto and Dawid Friedrich, International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing

‘This book offers an impressive analysis of the changing boundaries of the third sector in Europe and how this sector relates to the state and market in the provision of public services. Its penetrating insights deepen our understanding of the emerging role of the third sector in modern times – the most comprehensive assessment of the European experience to date.’
– Neil Gilbert, University of California, Berkeley, US

‘This new collection offers a fresh perspective on a whole range of issues now being addressed in the world of voluntary action in Europe – and beyond. By breaking free of existing constraints on modes of thinking and analysis, the authors have opened up new spaces for exploration on the future role of organisations and for dialogue between citizens, civil society and governments. In so doing, they have made a valuable contribution to debate in this important area of social policy.’
– Nicholas Deakin, London School of Economics, UK
Contributors: I. Bode, C. Borzaga, P. Chanial, J. Defourny, P. Dekker, J. Delors, A. Evers, R.M. Kramer, J.-L. Laville, J. Lewis, P. Lloyd, M. Nyssens, V. Pestoff, M. Taylor
Contents: Introduction Part I: Distinct Realities and Concepts: The Third Sector in Europe Part II: Social Economies, Voluntary Agencies and the Civil Society: The Third Sector in Various European Countries Part III: The Third Sector, the State and the European Union Part IV: What Matters with Respect to the Third Sector? Theoretical Considerations Index