In modern democracies, nonprofit organizations and social enterprises have a relevant political role that may be threatened by the entry into the market of services. This risk increases in time of economic crisis, when the competition grows stronger and the economic needs become more urgent. Starting from this assumption, the article analyzes the relationship between the managerial strategies and the political role of the Italian third sector, focusing on the implications of the management models put in place in order to “survive” the 2008 economic crisis. Two ideal-typical strategies will be outlined, labelled respectively “entrepreneurial turn” and “hyper-embeddedness”, which seem to have effects both in terms of the manner in which the political role is realized, and in terms of the degree of politicization of the organizations. Since such strategies can both increase or decrease nonprofits’ political ambitions, it is not possible to give an interpretation in terms of a tout court
distancing from politics. However, it will be argued that a trait common to all the trajectories is the withdrawal from what Mouffe defines “the political”, referring specifically to the dimension of conflict and antagonism.
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