RESEARCH PAPER
Civil society development in Germany: challenges and opportunities
Ulla Pape 1  
 
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Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin
Submission date: 2020-02-01
Acceptance date: 2020-08-30
Publication date: 2020-12-14
 
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2020;50:7–25
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
This article provides a snapshot analysis of civil society development in Germany. Based on an online survey and in-depth-interviews with civil society experts, conducted in 2016, it studies the challenges and opportunities experienced by German civil society organizations (CSOs). The article highlights the perceptions of the context conditions of civil society development and analyses the organisational responses which CSOs have adopted in response to a changes in their societal and political environment. The study argues that German CSOs have mainly experienced difficulties with fundraising and project organization, including problems with adhering to increasingly bureaucratic funding regulations. Among societal and political challenges, CSO representatives mentioned societal cleavages and stressed the role of CSOs in fostering integration and building bridges among diverse groups of society. Three organizational case studies illustrate how CSOs have managed to deal with changes in their environment. Although German CSOs have been experiencing challenges, they described the context conditions as relatively stable and favourable. From a theoretical perspective, the study contributes to the discussion on the “shrinking spaces for civil society”, as it shows that CSOs are adaptable and can develop despite external challenges.
 
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ISSN:1640-1808