The contribution of the Third Sector is strategic to the start of a transition toward a welfare society, whose realisation depends on the rising of forms of reciprocal and trustful partnership among public, private, Third Sector and informal subjects. The Third Sector plays a specific role in the process of promoting a pluralistic welfare, thanks to new forms of social partnership among Third sector actors, state and market, based on horizontal subsidizing. In this perspective, pluralistic welfare emerges not as sum of different subjects, each dedicated to specific activities and sectors, but as a way of undertaking common actions and fostering relations. The entrance of new players in the welfare systems generates innovative synergies in the answer of the more and more complex social needs; furthermore, the creation of networks among Third Sector players and other players of the pluralistic welfare in the production of social services can spread a culture of solidarity and social responsibility.
Lucia Boccacin teaches Sociology and Sociology of the Third Sector at Catholic University in Milan (Italy). She is author of monographs, essays and articles concerning social policy, Third Sector, the relationships among social subjects, the social and cultural transformations in the family. Her most recent works: Terzo settore: i molti volti del caso italiano (1997); Il terzo settore tra le generazioni. Un'analisi delle relazioni tra i soggetti del welfare plurale (2003); Giovani-adulti, famiglia e volontariato. Itinerari di costruzione dell'identità personale e sociale, 2003 (with E. Marta, 2003).