Institute for Civil Society Studies (ICSS)

Institute for Civil Society Studies (ICSS)

In addition to studying individual organisations or comparing organisations, ICSS above all examines activities and performance of civil society, with an emphasis on the social dimensions. Other areas of research include trust and social vulnerability.

The Institute for Civil Society Studies (ICSS) at Ersta Sköndal University College primarily focuses its research on various aspects of civil society. The pioneering character of ICSS research has given it a leading role in Swedish research on non-profit organisations and voluntary work. Many Swedish universities can claim one, two or perhaps more researchers with a part-time interest in civil society, but none can compare with the resources of the ICSS.

Organisation: At the beginning of 2010 the ICSS comprised 20 persons, equivalent to 13 full-time research posts. Civil society is a composite phenomenon that requires multidisciplinary research. The ICSS achieves this through careful project design and through a purposeful recruitment of co-workers from different research fields, such as social work, sociology, political science, theology, history, social anthropology, and cultural geography. The ICSS endeavours to create and maintain viable, long-term relations with research groups at other universities. At present ICSS collaborates in Sweden with Stockholm University, Lund University, Uppsala University and Linköping University, and abroad with Åbo Akademi University, Aalborg University, Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Radboud University Nijmegen, and the University of California, at Berkeley.

Our ‘Third Task’: With regard to the ‘third task’ of all Swedish universities (the dissemination of information and collaboration with society at large), we have extensive involvement in educational programs and seminars within our fields of interest, e.g. the work of internal development and in-service training within the non-profit sector, and courses at various universities/university colleges. We also make systematic efforts to extend the publications produced by ICSS or by our researchers in other contexts.

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