Book chapter (B2)

The Third Sector amid Welfare State Restructuring: The Implications for Social Justice in an era of Permanent Austerity

List of AuthorsO´Neill Keith

EditorsGary Craig


Publication year2023

Book title *Social Justice in a Turbulent Era

Title of seriesIn a Turbulent Era series



As crisis neoliberalism continues to reorient state functions away from the commons, civil society is increasingly becoming charged with maintaining social cohesion and tending to the outcomes of ill-conceived public policy and market inefficiencies. This chapter highlights the role of the third sector, as a formalized manifestation of civil society, amid what has been dubbed as an era of ‘permanent austerity’. This article suggests that in addition to economic constraints and demographic shifts, welfare state reform also plays out through ideological alignments congruent to the liberal script. It is concluded that among the many harmful social outcomes of welfare state retrenchment, and with an expanding role of third sector organizations in preserving the remnants of an increasingly fragile social contract, the only viable solution for third sector organizations to achieve social justice is to resist conforming to neoliberal principles and practices, ones which inevitably derail efforts to achieve fairer, more equitable outcomes in society.

Last updated on 2023-03-05 at 14:31