Multi-level Processes and Organized Civil Society
Edited by Jeremy Kendall
Chapter 17: Concluding Observations: A Diverse and Evolving Third Sector Policy Landscape
Jeremy Kendall 17.1 Introduction The convening and researching efforts of the Third Sector European Policy (TSEP) network, coordinated by the editor of this volume have represented the first systematic attempt to examine the nature of the third sector policy process in Europe. The study, based on a rich combination of literature reviews, a wide-ranging set of interviews, meetings and other encounters with policy stakeholders at national and EU levels, and Policy Workshops, has sought to initiate sustained analysis of this subject area. As showcased in this Handbook, it has thus developed a body of knowledge by reviewing, distilling and synthesizing insights from a range of sources: from the sector itself, but also from public authorities, the scholarly community, and elsewhere. This Handbook demonstrates systematically the actively (or de facto) contested character of ‘third sector’ definitions and typologies in Europe for policy purposes. In some contexts, this may present problems, generating confusion and frustration – a problem prominent, for example, in such contrasting settings as France, the Czech Republic and the EU-Brussels level. However, in other settings – such as Germany and Sweden – policy actors seem relatively comfortable with the coexistence of overlapping, imprecise and evolving terms and usage, with the different aspects of the space between market and state highlighted by a rich collection of categories and labels suggestive of a complex and multi-faceted reality. We have also explored on these pages the typically fragmented nature of the policy process in relation to the ‘third sector’ both within countries and between levels...
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