January 22, 2018 at 10:12 am

Li Gives Keynote in China on Third Sector and Role of Public Service

Dr. Jieli Li gives keynote at Zhejiang University, shown here at lecturn with screen.

Dr. Jieli Li gives keynote at Zhejiang University.

Dr. Jieli Li, Professor of Sociology, delivered a research talk titled “An Uncharted Social Space of the Third Sector and the Role of Public Service” at a keynote panel of the Second International Symposium on Public Service: Modernization of Public Service and Governance held at the School of Public Affairs of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, on Dec. 17.

In his speech, Li pointed out that the major concerns among policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners regarding the role of public service delivery have been expressed on blurred boundaries of the Public, Private and Third Sector. Those Third Sector institutions and organizations featuring non-government and non-profit functions that used to be beyond the state and the market are found to be more converging with the public and private sectors under the impacts of marketization. The Third Sector has thus become an increasingly diverse and contested terrain, as there are enormous differences that exist about which institutions and individual activities crisscrossing three sectors.

How can we redefine or re-conceptualize this new array of institutional and organizational behaviors in the capacity of public service? Li then addressed the question by bringing the theories of Lester M. Salamon and David Billis into a comparative discussion in regard to their efforts to move beyond the conventional Third Sector to explore the new dimensions. Li concluded that what seems most promising among all the reconceptualization efforts is an emerging hybrid model of the Third Sector that is embedded in cross-sector relations, which represents the new tendency of evolving transformation in the Third Sector and its redefined role of public service.

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