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Handbook on Third Sector Policy in Europe

Multi-level Processes and Organized Civil Society

Edited by Jeremy Kendall

While scholarship on the social, economic and political contributions of organisations existing between the market and the state has proliferated in recent years, no sustained attention has previously been paid to how such organisations are collectively treated by, and respond to, public policy. The expert contributors examine the policy environment for, and evolving policy treatment of, the third sector in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom from a comparative perspective. They also look at how the third sector relates to multi-level European policy processes, including the Open Method of Co-ordination, the Community Method, nationally-led ‘partnership’ approaches within an overall EU framework and the United Nations International Year of Volunteering; an initiative implemented in the EU but originating externally.
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Chapter 6: The Third Sector and the Policy Process in Spain: The Emergence of a New Policy Player

Teresa Montagut


Teresa Montagut* 6.1 Introduction Spain’s formally organized civil society has traditionally been recognized as relatively weak by European standards, and voluntary organizations have been taking shape more visibly as political players in their own right only in the last few years. Although there are a small number of voluntary entities with deep historical roots, the rapid growth and development of non-profit organizations in the social welfare domain did not take place until the 1980s and 1990s. Similarly, the networks representing these organizations and constituting what is now becoming recognizable as a cross-cutting policy community has achieved political salience only at the onset of the twenty-first century. The new political significance of associations – and their growth – helps explain academic interest in the sector in the 1990s (Casado, 1992; García Roca, 1993; Montagut, 1994; Sarasa, 1995; Rodríguez Cabrero and Montserrat, 1996; Subirats, 1999; Rodríguez Cabrero, 2003; Pérez Díaz and López Novo, 2003). However, as research is at an incipient stage, there is still no consensus on the best way to define the sector, either in relation to the appropriate label or collective noun, or concerning its limits and boundaries. As will be seen later, there is a range of formulations in evidence – translated, these correspond to ‘non-profit’, ‘voluntary work’ and ‘third sector’; and sometimes the concepts ‘third sector’ and ‘social economy’ are used interchangeably. Table 6.1 summarizes the scope and findings of several recent attempts to quantify the third sector in Spain. This chapter seeks to...

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