9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN27 Regional Network on Southern European Societies

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Welfare Mix in Southern Europe Building II, Auditório C1.03

The third sector in Southern Europe. Trends and researches in Italy and Spain

The analysis of the third sector as emerging phenomenon of Twentieth Century Societies continues to give life to the many intellectual debates currently rising at academic level.
This contribution wants to explore some of the more recent debates towards the European Third Sector, underlying at first the theoretic views of reference which allow to illustrate the variety of different approaches from a point of view both geographical and disciplinary. Furthermore, we want to define some lines of research that help to "decode" this phenomenon, sharing language and boundary.
Certainly, some of the most meaningful proposals arise from American, French and Anglo-Saxon literature which, especially in the most recent contributions, give rise to a "positive" definition of the third sector as a meaningful and essential actor in Welfare State systems.
Starting from this remarks, this paper wants to compare the situation of associations and voluntary work referring to two South-European Countries: Italy and Spain.
This comparison will develop the analysis of the phenomenon underlying some of the issues rising from both Italian and Spanish debates (development of civil society, spaces and places of third sector, institutionalization of the third sector, crisis of third sector, citizenship etc?). We will examine political, historical and economical contributions of the literature in order to give rise to heterogeneity and complementarity of definitions, problems and sectors.
Relational sociology approach will help to translate emerging debates and issues, into potentialities which enable to think about third sector as an evolving sector, constantly reaching out towards his definition of spaces and ways of working.
Moreover, we want to offer a picture of the phenomenon in terms of dimension and composition.
This contribution intends to analyze how the third sector identifies himself and relates with other sectors (State, Market, informal sector), highlighting in real terms the forms of participation of the third sector in issues of Welfare and describing internal goals (legitimacy, development of associative democracy etc?) and limits (lack of professionalism, financial dependence and a grooving lack of autonomy, disorientation, lack of identification).