Advertisement

Defining and Theorizing the Third Sector

  • Olaf Corry

Abstract

According to some, the third sector is unsuited to singular definitions because it is by its nature unruly. However, different definitions or theorizations can be identified. Ontologically oriented definitions of the third sector offer differing views on what it is made up of and what is excluded. Thus, an “American” view defines it as a separate sector characterized by organized, private, nonprofit, and voluntary entities. A “European” definition sees it as a hybrid phenomenon combining and connecting other sectors such as state and market (this allows social enterprises and [welfare] state bodies in). In contrast, epistemologically oriented theorizations treat the third sector more as a process or form of practice: a particular type of communication (following systems theory), a form of ordering and governing of people (following discourse theory), or a form of struggle or dialogue between social forces (following critical theory).

Keywords

Civil Society Social Movement Social Enterprise Sector Organization Sector Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Åkerstøm, N. (2003). Discursive Analytical Strategies: Understanding Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau, Luhmann, Bristol, The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  2. Åkerstøm, N. (2008). Partnerships: Machines of Possibility, Bristol, The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barry, A., Osborne, T., and Rose, N. (1996). Foucault and Political Reason: Liberalism, Neo-liberalism and Rationalities of Government, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Centre for Civil Society. (2009). What is civil society? http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CCS/ introduction/what_is_civil_society.htm
  5. Clegg, S. R., Rhodes, C., and Kornberger, M. (2007). Desperately seeking legitimacy: Organizational identity and emerging industries. Organization Studies, 28, 495–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Defourny, J., and Nyssens, M. (2006). Defining social enterprise. In M. Nyssens (ed.) Social Enterprise: At the Crossroads of Market, Public Policies and Civil Society (pp. 29–49), London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Etzioni, A. (1973). The third sector and domestic missions. Public Administration Review, 33(4), 314–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Evers, A. (1995). Part of the welfare mix: The third sector as an intermediate area. Voluntas, 6(2), 159–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Foucault, M. ([1978] 2002). Governmentality. In M. Foucault, Power: The Works of Michel Foucault, London, Penguin.Google Scholar
  10. Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from The Prison Notebooks, New York, International Publishers.Google Scholar
  11. Jenei, G., and Kuti, E. (2008). The third sector and civil society. In S. P. Osborne (ed.) The Third Sector in Europe: Prospects and Challenges (pp. 9–24), London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Kaldor, M. (2002). Civil society and accountability. Occasional background paper for HDR, UNDP.Google Scholar
  13. Kaldor, M. (2003). Global Civil Society: An Answer to War? Cambridge, Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Katz, H. (2006). Gramsci, hegemony, and global civil society networks. Voluntas, 17(4), 332–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kendall, J., and Knapp, M. (1995). Voluntary Means, Social Ends, Canterbury, PSSRU.Google Scholar
  16. Laville, J.-L, Borzaga, C., Defourny, J., Evers, A., Lewis, J., Nyssens, M., and Vestoff, P. (1999). Third system: A European definition. Paper prepared for the European Commission pilot action “Third system and employment” http://www.istr.org/networks/europe/laville.evers.etal.pdf
  17. Lewis, D. (2003). Theorizing the organization and management of non-governmental development organizations: Towards a composite approach. Public Management Review, 5(3), 325–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lipschutz, R. D. (2005). Global civil society and global governmentality: Resistance, reform or resignation? In G. Baker and D. Chandler (eds) Global Civil Society: Contested Futures (pp. 171–185), London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. National Audit Office (NAO). (2009). Building the Capacity of the Third Sector, London, House of Commons, http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0809/building_the_capacity_of_the_t.aspxGoogle Scholar
  20. Nyssens, M. (2008). The third sector and the social inclusion agenda: The role of social enterprises in the field of work integration. In S. P. Osborne (ed.) The Third Sector in Europe: Prospects and Challenges (pp. 87–102), London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Osborne, S. P. (ed.) (2008). The Third Sector in Europe: Prospects and Challenges, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Priller, E., and Zimmer, A. (eds) (2001). Der Dritte Sektor international. Berlin, Sigma.Google Scholar
  23. Ridley-Duff, M. B., and Seanor, P. (2008). Understanding social enterprise: Theory and practice. Introduction to a new textbook, SERC Conference, http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/bcim-cgcm/conferences/serc/2008/speakers/theory-and-practice-paper.pdf
  24. Salamon, L. M., and Anheier, H. K. (1997). The third world’s third sector in comparative perspective. Working papers of The Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, no. 24, The Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  25. Sending, O. J., and Neumann, I. B. (2006). Governance to governmentality: Analyzing NGOs, states, and power. International Studies Quarterly, 50(3), 651–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations