In times when the experience of a well functioning national welfare state is constantly shuddered, not only the tasks of the welfare state but also those of civic society, mutual responsibility and areas of citizens’ self help are frequently being re-defined. Hence, the significance of the third sector in one of the most successful and stable circumstances of welfare states – in Northern Europe – is of great interest.
My hypothesis is that neither the Nordic public sector alone nor the third sector as such can explain the particular success of the Nordic model, but it may be the particular relationship between the public and civic society sector , which has enabled a certain type of a society to develop.
The relatively near and open connections between citizens and municipal authorities, between voluntary organisations and public administration have led to a distinctive responsive manner of acknowledging mutual tensions, needs and interests (see also Sipilä 1997). However, this particular relationship of the public, third and market sector has changed quite rapidly in most Nordic countries during the last ten years.
Köpenhamn: Nordic Council of Ministers , 2006. -405 p.