Globalization at the Level of the Nation-State: The Case of Canada’ Third Sector

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This paper examines how globalization-inspired policy and institutional changes bring about a redefinition of citizenship and a reconstitution of modalities of political and collective action. By examining the case of Canada's third sector, it is argued that the combined forces of globalization and neoliberal ideology are resulting in the mercerization and co-optation of the third sector into a quasi-autonomous government body to deliver public services. In the process, social citizenship rights of Canadians are being redefined. As well, the state’s concern for freeing itself of interest group politics in order to push its market-oriented policies is resulting in restricted avenues of democratic participation for Canadian citizens. In an era of market hegemony, it is imperative to strengthen the third sector’s role as intermediary between the market, state and citizens to ensure that globalization works for people and not for profit alone. An alternative to the existing welfare and labour market approaches is needed which would embody the principles of social responsibility, democracy, and transparency, and yet be innovative enough to meet the challenges of the new global order.