This paper analyses the participation of the third sector in local, strategic, multisectoral partnerships as part of the Third Way project for the coordination of welfare. Taking as point of entry the third sector that is supposed to participate in this governance project, I observe, through an ethnographic case study, the time/space where the negotiation of governance takes place. The conceptual apparatus of Luhmann’s autopoietic systems theory is used to describe and analyse an attempt, by a group of third sector organisations, to design a structure for representation of the third sector in a Local Strategic Partnership in England. Based on the observation of the decisions that took place in a set of meetings, I discuss the reduction of complexity and the paradoxes of the participation of the third sector in network governance.
Ferreira, Sílvia (2012), “Observando a indecidibilidade da participação do terceiro setor na complexidade da governação em rede [Observing the indecidability of third sector participation in network governance complexity]”, Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 97, 107-132.