‘Third sector’ and/or ‘civil society’: a critical discourse about scholarship relating to intermediate organisations
Wagner, Antonin (2012)


In this article I argue that ‘third sector’ and ‘civil society’ represent two different, but mutually enhancing, research paradigms: one addressing decentralisation of public administration, the other the delegation of power from citizens to their state in a system of representative
governance. Shifting back and forth between the two paradigms can provide a fuller understanding of intermediate organisations and induce a more encompassing managerial practice. If terms such as ‘third sector’ and ‘civil society’ are, however, used as interchangeable labels, paradigm shift
turns into paradigm confusion. The blurring of boundaries will reduce the capacity of recognised scientific achievements to provide model solutions for management and policy.


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