Contrary to the most widespread conception that considers self-help/mutual aid as a component of the 'third sector', an approach is proposed which assumes, on the basis of the specific nature of the social bond and of the social action that characterizes it, it can be more properly considered as part of the 'new civil society' as it has been configured during the time in Western societies. This implies its location in the public non-state and non-systemic space that it has been created in the specific form of associations of citizenship. An interuniversity research project is then presented which, using this approach, studied the case of self-help/mutual aid associations for the chronically ill in Italy, offering some of the findings regarding the origin, structural characteristics, geographical distribution and activities of these associations in order to at least partially verify the heuristic value of this approach and its implications for the processes of reform of the health systems.
Self-help/mutual aid as active citizenship associations: a case study of the chronically ill in Italy / Giarelli, Guido; Spina, Elena. - In: SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE. - ISSN 0277-9536. - STAMPA. - 123:(2014), pp. 242-249. [10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.034]