The Ethical Dimension and the Problem of Third Sector Specificity

Author/s Sandro Stanzani
Publishing Year 2016 Issue 2016/1 Language Italian
Pages 19 P. 161-179 File size 92 KB
DOI 10.3280/SP2016-001008
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After the "glorious 20s" at the end of the last century, the social sciences have arguably lost their trust in the possibility of defining a theory concerning the existence of the third sector. Having lost its political innocence (Kendall) the concept of the third sector seems to have become a strategic unity (Alcock), used firstly by policy makers to privatize social services and secondly by third sector entrepreneurs to gain room in the quasi-markets of social policies. It therefore seems impossible to define a specific field of social action for the sector (Macmillan), and much less to find an ethical specificity of the sector. The author, by analyzing the recent literature, discusses three different perspective on the third sector. A first perspective denies any possibility of existence of a separate sector of society characterized by ethical aims. The second perspective reduces the ethical attitude of the third sector to a narrative used to conceal material interests. While the third perspective attributes to the social relationships sustained by this sector the possibility to generate ethical attitudes.

Keywords: Third Sector; Ethics; Relational Sociology; Field Theory; Realism; Reductionism

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Sandro Stanzani, La dimensione etica e il problema della specificità del terzo settore in "SOCIOLOGIA E POLITICHE SOCIALI" 1/2016, pp 161-179, DOI: 10.3280/SP2016-001008