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The Long-Term Evolution of the Government–Third Sector Partnership in Italy: Old Wine in a New Bottle?

An Erratum to this article was published on 06 October 2016

Abstract

In Italy, the development of the human social service field has been grounded in a peculiar type of government–third sector partnership. This article identifies the main features of such partnership and reconstructs its evolution in a long-term perspective. The main argument is that in Italy this partnership, historically based on particularism and political patronage, has gradually shifted towards a model combining market logic and participatory orientation. State regulation has been paradoxically strengthened in order to allow more transparency, freedom of choice, and effective joint planning. However, the lack of financial and technical resources exposes this new system to old style local arrangements.

Résumé

En Italie, le développement du domaine des services sociaux trouve son origine dans un type particulier de partenariat entre le gouvernement et le troisième secteur. Cet article identifie les principales caractéristiques de ce partenariat et reconstitue son évolution dans une perspective à long terme. La principale thèse est, qu’en Italie, ce partenariat, fondé historiquement sur le particularisme et le favoritisme politique, s’est déplacé progressivement vers un modèle combinant la logique du marché et l’orientation participative. Les règlementations de l’État ont été paradoxalement renforcées afin de permettre davantage de transparence, de liberté de choix et une planification commune efficace. Cependant, le manque de ressources financières et techniques soumet ce nouveau système à d’anciennes mesures locales.

Zusammenfassung

Die Entwicklung des Sozialdienstleistungsbereichs in Italien ist in einer besonderen Art von Beziehung zwischen der Regierung und dem Dritten Sektor verankert. Dieser Beitrag identifiziert die wesentlichen Merkmale dieser Partnerschaft und rekonstruiert ihre Entwicklung aus einer langfristigen Perspektive. Das Hauptargument ist, dass sich diese Partnerschaft in Italien, die historisch auf Partikularismus und politischer Patronage beruht, allmählich in Richtung eines Modells bewegt hat, das Marktlogik und partizipatorische Orientierung vereint. Paradoxerweise wurde die staatliche Regulierung gestärkt, um eine erhöhte Transparenz, Entscheidungsfreiheit und effektive gemeinsame Planung zu ermöglichen. Allerdings setzen fehlende finanzielle und technische Ressourcen dieses neue System lokalen Regelungen nach altem Stil aus.

Resumen

En Italia, el desarrollo del campo de los servicios sociales se ha basado en un tipo peculiar de asociación gobierno-sector terciario. El presente artículo identifica las principales características de dicha asociación y reconstruye su evolución en una perspectiva a largo plazo. El principal argumento es que en Italia, esta asociación basada históricamente en el particularismo y en el patrocinio político, ha cambiado gradualmente a un modelo que combina la lógica del mercado y la orientación participativa. La reglamentación estatal se ha visto fortalecida paradójicamente con el fin de permitir más transparencia, libertad de elección y planificación conjunta efectiva. Sin embargo, la falta de recursos financieros y técnicos expone este nuevo sistema a los acuerdos locales al viejo estilo.

摘 要

在意大利,人类社会服务领域的发展一直根植于政府和第三方的某种合作关系,本文指出了这种关系的主要特点并重构其长期演变进程, 文章的主要观点是, 在意大利,这种基于特殊主义和 政治庇护历史渊源的 合作关系 已经逐渐转变 为一种市场逻辑与 参与取向相结合的模式。为了增加透明性、实现选择自由和有效的联合规划, 国家规定的地位相反得到加强。 但是, 由于缺乏金融和技术资源 ,这个新的体系还存在 旧式的局部安排。

要約

イタリアの社会福祉分野では、行政の第三セクターのパートナーシップが独自に発展している。本論文では、そのようなパートナーシップの特徴を識別して、長期的な視点からその進展を再構築する。主な論点は、個別主義と政治後援に基づいた歴史的なイタリアのパートナーシップが、市場論理と参加型の方向性を組み合わせたモデルに徐々に移行してきたことである。州法は、透明性、選択と効果的な共同企画の自由を許可するために逆説的に強化されてきた。しかし財政および技術的な資源不足は、新しいシステムを地域における従来の手法に適用させる。

ملخص

تطوير مجال الخدمة الاجتماعية البشري في إيطاليا قد أسس في نوع غريب من الشراكة بين القطاع الثلث- الحكومة. تحدد هذه المقالة الملامح الرئيسية لهذه الشراكة وتعيد تطورها في منظور طويل الأجل. الجدل الرئيسي هو أن في إيطاليا هذه الشراكة، تاريخيا” تعتمدعلى المصلحة الخاصة والمحسوبية السياسية، تحولت تدريجيا” نحو نموذج يجمع بين منطق السوق والتوجه التشاركي. تنظيم الدولة قد تم تعزيزه بشكل متناقض من أجل السماح للمزيد من الشفافية وحرية الإختيار والتخطيط المشترك الفعال. مع ذلك، فإن نقص الموارد المالية والفنية يفضح هذا النظام الجديد بسبب الترتيبات المحلية من الطراز القديم.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Unfortunately ISTAT does not provide data by field for 2011. The present data are referred therefore to 2001.

  2. 2.

    By social assistance, we mean all social interventions (excluding health and education) that are not based on a contributory basis. They include social care, family policies, minimum income measures, active labor market initiatives, and housing subsidies. Pensions and unemployment benefits are not considered part of social assistance as these benefits are based on previous contributions of eligible beneficiaries.

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Acknowledgment

This article was prepared within the framework of a subsidy granted to the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation by the Government of the Russian Federation for the implementation of the Global Competitiveness Program.

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Correspondence to Costanzo Ranci.

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This paper is part of the Special Issue: Unlikely Partners? Evolving Government-Nonprofit Relationships, East and West, edited by Lester M. Salamon.

This article was prepared within the framework of a subsidy granted to the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation by the Government of the Russian Federation for the implementation of the Global Competitiveness Program. None of the organizations with which the authors are affiliated or that have supported their work bears any responsibility for any errors or views expressed here. That is the author’s own responsibility.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11266-016-9797-x.

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Ranci, C. The Long-Term Evolution of the Government–Third Sector Partnership in Italy: Old Wine in a New Bottle?. Voluntas 26, 2311–2329 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-015-9650-7

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Keywords

  • Third sector
  • Italy
  • Partnership
  • Social policy
  • Welfare mix