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Civil and Uncivil Society in the 21st Century

This international conference in London, Goodenough College is a joint cooperation between the LSE Centre for Civil Society and the CINEFOGO Network of Excellence under the 6th EU Framework Programme.

26 February 2009 - 27 February 2009

Taking as its point of departure recent debates on “uncivil” society, political society or the dark side of associational life, the conference will invite research abstracts which address themes that go beyond the equation: civil society = NGOs. The aim of the conference is to investigate the role of organizations and movements that fall outside conventional civil society analysis and to develop new perspectives on issues of transnationality, migration and citizenship in and beyond Europe.

There are three key strands to the conference. The first strand will explore the role of civil society organizations beyond the NGO sector. These would include churches, mosques, religious movements, migrant networks, criminal groups and gangs. This research strand will raise issues around the diversity of social and political society both in European and in developing country contexts.

The second strand will explore the engagement of governments with social organizations outside the formal NGO sector. A key focus will be on changing European government policies towards the funding and management of civil, social and religious groups. Included in this strand would be the growing interest in working with faith-based organisations, diasporas, transnational advocacy networks as well as the work and international connections of Christian and Islamic organisations.

The third strand will examine civil society theory in the light of recent challenges, which have seen notions of civil society as European or Western impositions, and criticised their deployment within European and World Bank policies. Questions of what is civil and uncivil, or what is political society versus civil society open up new social science perspectives on the value of civil society as an analytical device and possible different understandings and applications of it.

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Call for papers: is an acronym for Network of Excellence “Civil Society and New Forms of Governance in Europe – the Making of European Citizenship”. CINEFOGO aims at enhancing the understanding of social and democratic processes, citizenship and democratic participation in Europe. It seeks to provide knowledge about civil society, citizenship and social protection, nourish a public debate on governance and strengthen intellectual co-operation. To learn more on CINEFOGO, visit or send an e-mail to The CINEFOGO Network of Excellence is supported by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme, Priority 7: New Forms of Citizenship and Cultural Identities of the European Union.


civil society