Civil society and its organisations (CSO) play a vital role in the implementation of sustainable development (SD). Civil society actors exhibit special features, they are to a large degree driven by visions or ideals, place a focus on common action, participate in and initiate discourses about SD in society, enhance social capital, and share a non-economical (non-efficiency driven) world view. Given these characteristics, CSOs show some specific shortcomings: a non-economical worldview leads to less efficient pursuit of SD goals and to a weak representation in political and economical decision-processes; initiating discourses often excludes evidence-based thinking, giving away chances for increased self-reflexivity and learning; and a lack of institutionalisation within existing institutional frameworks of governance provide not sufficient leverage to influence policy making. Apart from these more general shortcomings, there are numerous specific and context-related issues that would need to be researched in order to increase efficiency of CSOs. To foster sustainability from an analytical perspective, there are two aspects underlying (or overarching) all these context-dependent problems: (1) Degree of institutionalisation of sustainable development efforts within a local/regional context (socio-economical-political-cultural). Also therein, the degree of institutionalisation of sustainability-driven CSO in political/institutional decision structures (“participative governance”). (2) Sustainability knowledge and sustainability learning: getting sustainability across to people (“the long way from head to hand”). These aspects are closely related to each other and will provide the general research framework (GRF) of the proposed project, providing the “bracket” to keep context-related research with CSO partners focused on a more general analytic framework which will be individually adapted to each participating CSO's needs. The GRF will be identical for all partners, sufficiently theoretically structured and capable of deriving generalisations, but at the same time flexible enough and adaptive to various contexts to fit into different CSO environments.
Field of science
- /social sciences/political science/government systems/civil society
- /social sciences/sociology/governance
- /social sciences/other social sciences/social sciences interdisciplinary/sustainable development
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeBSG-CSO - Research for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)