57860 - Sociology Of The Third Sector

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Andrea Bassi

  • Credits 6

  • SSD SPS/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Management for Social Economy (cod. 8843)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 27, 2021 to Oct 28, 2021


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Decent work and economic growth Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide the essential elements of the analysis of the sphere of society called "Third Sector" The Third Sector collects a plurality of actors, entities, organizations, institutions and enterprises that share the following distinctive features: they are private entities, endowed with a degree of legal formalization; they are subject to a partial or total constraint on profits redistribution; they pursue civic, solidarity and social utility purposes and carry out activities of general interest. At the end of the course, the student will be able to: - explore and understand the different theories and approaches of social sciences about the birth, the presence, the evolution and the perspective of development of the Third Sector organizations; - understand the main definitions in the international context (with particular attention to the European context) concerning Third Sector organizations; - know the history, the evolution, the statistical data and the distinctive features of the different types of Third Sector organizations operating in Italy; - learn about the main Italian and European institutional framework and regulatory acts concerning Third Sector organizations; - applying the "Case Study" technique to Third Sector Organizations or to inter-organizational networks involving several types of organizations (public, private, non-profit); - critically compare the different approaches to the study of the Third Sector and discuss their implications for public policies.

Course contents

1. The origin of the discipline;

2. Main approaches and schools of thought;

3. Methodological tools to study the organizations;

4. Case studies;

5. Third Sector organizations: some definitions;

6. Third Sector organizations: theories and approaches;

7. Third Sector organizations: typologies and characteristics.


Bibliography for home study and any further recommended reading materials for the course.

1) Bassi A. e Fabbri A. (2020), Under pressure: Evolution of the social economy institutional recognition in the EU, in “APCE - Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics”, Vol. 91, Issue 3, 2020; 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1111/apce.12264

2) Bassi A. e Fabbri A. (2019), Workers Buyout: Why Employee-owned Enterprises are more resilient than corporate business in time of Economic and Financial Crisis? The case of Emilia-Romagna Region, CIRIEC Working Paper No. 2019/13, p. 3- 23;


3) Bassi Andrea, Baines Susan, Csoba Judit and Sipos Flórián (2019), Social Investment in theory and praxis: a ‘quiet revolution’ in innovative local services?, in Baines Susan, Bassi Andrea, Csoba Judit and Sipos Flórián (2019) (edited by), Implementing innovative social investment: Strategic lessons from Europe, Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 195-213.


4) Bassi A. and Vincenti G. (2015), Toward a New Metrics for the Evaluation of the Social Added Value of Social Enterprises, «C.I.R.I.E.C. ESPAÑA», 2015, 83, pp. 9 - 42.


5) Bassi A. (2013), Succession in Italian nonprofits: A survey, «INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP JOURNAL», 2013, Vol. 5, N.3, pp. 51 - 71.


6) Bassi A. (2012), How to measure the intangibles? Towards a system of indicators (S.A.V.E.) for the measurement of the performance of social enterprises, in: Challenge Social Innovation. Potentials for Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Welfare and Civil Society, BERLIN, Springer, 2012, pp. 326 - 350.



a – Young Dennis (2013), If not for Profit for What?, Lexington Books, Lexington, Massachusetts. http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=facbooks2013

b - Howaldt Jurgen and Schwarz Michael (2010), Social Innovation: Concepts, research fields and international trends, Sozialforschungsstelle, Vol. 5, Dortmund. http://www.sfs.tu-dortmund.de/cms/en/social_innovation/publications/IMO-MAG_Howaldt_final_mit_cover.pdf

c - Mulgan Geoff et al. (2006), Social Silicon Valleys, The Young Foundation, London. http://youngfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Social-Silicon-Valleys-March-2006.pdf

d - Donati Pierpaolo (2014), Transcending Modernity: The Quest for a Relational Society, Cesis - Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna: Bologna. http://www.relationalstudies.net/uploads/2/3/1/5/2315313/p._donati_transcending_modernity_ebook.pdf

e – Mulgan Geoff (2013), The Locust and the Bee, Predators and Creators in Capitalism's Future, Princeton University Press, Oxford, UK. http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9953.pdf (first chapter)

f - Alex Nicholls, Julie Simon and Madeleine Gabriel (Edited by) (2015), New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research, PALGRAVE MACMILLAN.

g - Taco Brandsen and Victor Pestoff, Co-production: the Third Sector and the Delivery of Public Services, Public Management Review, Vol. 8, N. 4, 2006, (monograph number), pp. 493-608.

h - Bernard Enjolras, Lester M. Salamon, Karl Henrik Sivesind, Annette Zimmer (Edited by) (2018), The Third Sector as a Renewable Resource for Europe Concepts, Impacts, Challenges and Opportunities, Springer.


Teaching methods

The lectures will present a general overview of the historical development of the discipline and an illustration of the main approach of the sociology of organizations. The lectures will be supplemented with practical examples through short videos.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists of a colloquium that aim to ascertain students' understanding of the arguments presented during lectures.

The student must prepare the texts 1 to 6 indicated in the above mentioned "Bibliography" and an argument chosen among the topics indicated in the "Readings" Section.

N.B. The examination methods indicated may undergo changes based on the evolution of the health emergency.

Teaching tools

Video projector, PC, overhead projector.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Bassi