Relational aspects of the Third Sector today

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The third sector (TS) has long been an essential component of Italian and European society. Sociological reflections during recent decades have contributed to a clarification of TS strengths and weaknesses, taking into account the historical context and the social situation of reference. In view of this, the present essay focuses attention on key aspects of the TS debate, referring specifically to the social functions performed by TS organisations when responding to needs through intervention practices aimed at revitalising social contexts, the constitutive processes, the development of TS relationships with public and private market partners, the role played within social policies, and the major transformations which have affected the development or re-dimensioning of example cases. At the European level, wide variations emerge in the historical, cultural, social and relational characteristics of the sector, and how its social identity is defined. The cognitive route we follow here has three parts. The first will explore the culture of the phenomenon, the second will cover the identification of several distinctive features currently characterising the TS in Italy and Europe with reference to the available empirical data, and the third will identify the prospectives of several emerging orientations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe relational gaze on a changing society
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Social Generativity
  • Social Relations
  • Third Sector


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