Informations and abstract
This paper shows the main outcomes of a research about social and individual meanings of work in a sample of third sector operators (volunteers and employees) in Prato. The theoretical approach to the "non profit" phenomenon is the systemic-relational one. The article underlines the importance of the private social activities whether as new occupational sector from the point of view of the actual European "workfare" strategies, or as strategic "social integration" mechanism in postindustrial societies based on social conflicts about construction of personal and collective identity. Thus the utility of a study about the symbolic value of work in an action sphere that potentially advances more general cultural trends. Starting hypotheses are three. The first one is the word "work" assumes new meanings (pleasure, study relationship, fun and so on) beside the traditional ones (sacrifice, necessity, commitment and so on). The second one is the work refers more and more to social reproduction actions formerly considered typical of spare time (house-keeping, taking care of sons or the more elderly relatives, production of services and goods for one's own use and so on). The last one is that work, by now without every ideological contents, becomes today an important renewed existential source of normative orientations. In confirmation of the reliability of these hypotheses, factor analysis shows the degree of spreading of these new ideas to start from some variables as gender, age and organizations role played in informal third sector associations.