Italian Social Enterprises at the Crossroads: Their Role in the Evolution of the Welfare State

Italian Social Enterprises at the Crossroads: Their Role in the Evolution of the Welfare State This paper investigates the relationship between the emergence of social enterprises (SEs) and the historical development of the Italian welfare state. Our research offers a comprehensive overview of the internal and external influences that shaped the constitutive relations between the welfare state and SEs. A qualitative methodology based on semi-structured interviews and focus groups has been adopted. This study suggests that two interconnected dynamics—the emergence of new social needs being answered by private organisations and the increased prominence of third sector actors during the privatisation of the welfare state—shaped the co-evolution of the welfare state and SEs in Italy. The study also suggests that the emergence and evolution of Social Enterprises in the years leading up to 2001 was mainly a bottom-up phenomena stemming from the actions of citizens setting up private organisations (often cooperatives) to answer to social problems created by new social needs and the structural reform of the welfare state. After 2001 especially with the new law on SEs in 2016, the evolution of SEs seems to have been increasingly influenced by the surrounding ecosystem of actors and supranational policy discourses rather than SEs themselves. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations Springer Journals

Italian Social Enterprises at the Crossroads: Their Role in the Evolution of the Welfare State

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University
Subject
Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general; Political Science; Social Policy
ISSN
0957-8765
eISSN
1573-7888
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11266-017-9875-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between the emergence of social enterprises (SEs) and the historical development of the Italian welfare state. Our research offers a comprehensive overview of the internal and external influences that shaped the constitutive relations between the welfare state and SEs. A qualitative methodology based on semi-structured interviews and focus groups has been adopted. This study suggests that two interconnected dynamics—the emergence of new social needs being answered by private organisations and the increased prominence of third sector actors during the privatisation of the welfare state—shaped the co-evolution of the welfare state and SEs in Italy. The study also suggests that the emergence and evolution of Social Enterprises in the years leading up to 2001 was mainly a bottom-up phenomena stemming from the actions of citizens setting up private organisations (often cooperatives) to answer to social problems created by new social needs and the structural reform of the welfare state. After 2001 especially with the new law on SEs in 2016, the evolution of SEs seems to have been increasingly influenced by the surrounding ecosystem of actors and supranational policy discourses rather than SEs themselves.

Journal

VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit OrganizationsSpringer Journals

Published: May 9, 2017

References

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