The Third Sector: Charities and Social Enterprises in Modern Societies - SO645

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR J Kendall checkmark-circle


The module provides an overview of the contribution of the third sector to social, economic and political life. It includes analysis of definitions and categorisations, exploration of the theories which underpin the study of the third sector, an examination of theories and the current state of volunteering and charitable giving, examination of the historical and current public policy agenda in relation to the third sector in the UK, the EU and more generally and, an overview of current issues in the third sector and how social scientists go about studying them.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

22 contact hours

Method of assessment

50% coursework (one 3,000 word essay) and 50% 2-hour examination (summer term)

Indicative reading

Anheier, H. (2005) Nonprofit Organisations: Theory, Management, Policy. Routledge.
Bridge, S., Murtagh, B. and O’Neill, K. (2008) Understanding the Social Economy and the Third Sector. Palgrave
Deakin, N. (2001) In Search of Civil Society. Palgrave
Rochester, C., Ellis Paine, A. and Howlett, S. (2010) Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century. Palgrave.
Payton, R., and Moody, M. (2008) Understanding Philanthropy: It’s Meaning and Mission. Indiana University Press
Kendall, J. (2003) The Voluntary Sector: Comparative Perspectives in the UK. Routledge.
Evers, A. and Laville, J-L. (2003) The Third Sector in Europe. Edward Elgar.
Steinberg, R. and Powell, W. (2nd edn, 2006) The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook. Yale University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

(1): Understanding of the nature of, and rationale for, the third sector from key social science disciplinary perspectives.

(2): Ability to describe and anatomise the third sector’s contribution to social economic and political life by utilising – and understanding the limits of – relevant economic and social data.

(3): Understanding of how and why the third sector is an important actor in the policy process


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.