A primary research focus of the Institute has been examination of the workings of non-profit organizations and in particular activities and civic engagement within that framework, some of which research was of a pioneering nature. More recently attention has turned to the transformation of civic engagement in the society; how the new media and so-called hybridized forms of organization affect engagement and voluntary work, and the continuity of engagement over time. A further research area deals with trust and vulnerability.
As the research has successively broadened in scope, projects now extend from historical analyses and extensive population surveys concerning civic action and informal commitment to case studies of individual organizations. The multidisciplinary character of most projects indicates a research team of varying academic backgrounds.
An important goal is to contribute to the international body of research on interaction between the State, the market, civil society, the family and the individual; another is to add knowledge of civil engagement within the shelter of a welfare society such as the Swedish one. That the specific Swedish social contract will be subject to renegotiation is an essential point of departure.
The research project director at the Civil Society Research Department is Professor Lars Trägårdh.
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