The Activated Civil Society - An analysis of the sustainable impact of civic engagement on social capital and the common good

Abstract

The civic involvement that has emerged in Germany in the wake of the so-called "refugee crisis" is considered a "great moment for civil society". The project examines the long-term consequences of this activation of civil society for social capital and social cohesion in Germany. It is particularly interested in,

- whether the surge of activation of civic engagement observed in the course of the so-called refugee crisis, has led to the formation of new social networks (of individuals and organizations) or to a strengthening of existing social networks;

- whether the opportunities for participation of individuals and groups, in particular of persons with a history of migration, have been sustainably increased and if their access to public resources has improved;

- and finally, whether through this, social cohesion has been consolidated.

In order to answer these questions, the effects of civil society activation are examined on three levels: a) on the level of individual commitment (to what extent does the commitment of helpers turn into permanent forms of participation and in which kind of participation?), b) on the level of organizations (to what extent did the activation surge of 2015 change the organizational landscape of civil society?), and c) on the level of social consequences (to what extent does this produce common good?). The study focuses on empirical case studies of eight medium-sized cities in Germany, combining qualitative and quantitative methods.

The project is a joint project involving the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM; project coordinator), the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies at the University of Osnabrück (IMIS) and the Center for Civil Society Research at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB).

Project Management
Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak (DeZIM)
Staff
Dr. Elias Steinhilper (DeZIM)
Prof. Dr. Helen Schwenken (IMIS)
Duration
January 2020 - January 2023
Funding
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Cooperation partners
German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM)
Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies at the University of Osnabrück (IMIS)