Call for papers: Comparative studies of Civil Society

The editors of Comparative Social Research invites scholars to submit papers to the 2009 edition of CSR. This volume has the theme "Comparative studies of Civil Society".

There is an increasing body of research on civil society, governance, citizen participation, and the transnational role of civil society organizations (CSOs). Many countries now have detailed studies of the composition and role of civil society on a national level. There are also a number of comparative studies in this field, mainly based on statistical data. However, we still lack in-depth studies of civil society in smaller number of countries, combining statistical analysis with thick descriptions of the role civil society plays in different social fields. To what extent is it feasible to talk about civil society regimes in relation to different constructions of citizenship and welfare states? To what extent are relations and borders to the business sector changing the CSOs? How are activities on a national level linked to participation in policymaking on a transnational level, in terms of political equality, representation, accountability and legitimacy?

Civil society is considered crucial for the good functioning of democracy and for the plain exercise of citizenship. Indeed, democratic citizenship requires, in addition to a set of formal rights and obligations, a public sphere within which citizens can actively participate within and beyond the state. In addition, new forms of governance, both at the national and supra-national level entail partnership between civil society, public sector and business enterprises. A comparative perspective on participation and governance will help to better identify the institutional constellations in which civil society may play an active role.

With the globalization of markets, new kinds of war, increased migration, technological changes, changes in communication and cultural production, new transnational public spaces develop at the at the supra-national and global levels. CSOs and citizens can actively participate outside the mechanisms of representative government. However, the articulations between national and transnational civil society spaces are insufficiently mapped and understood. A comparative perspective will cast light on the interaction processes and networks of actors operating at different levels.

We need comparative studies to deepen the understanding of the composition, structure, role and transformation of civil society. For the volume to appear in 2009, Comparative Social Research invites articles taking a comparative perspective on three themes:

  • Civil society regimes

  • The role of civil society in governance and active participation of citizens

  • Transnational civil society

Scholars are invited to submit summaries before 1 December 2007, and manuscripts before 1 June 2008. Two anonymous referees will review all manuscripts before publication.
For further information, contact

Fredrik Engelstad, series editor:
Bernard Enjolras, volume editor:
Karl Henrik Sivesind, volume editor:
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Publisert 12. sep. 2008 09:00