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What are institutional parameters for civil society, how is civil society formed historically and in content, and who are its protagonists? These are the questions at the center of the research group’s work. The quality of civil society can be measured empirically through the “civility” approach, indicating how politically active its citizens are in the community and which values guide them. Territorially and thematically the research group concentrates on Europe. Aspects of globalization are incorporated. Issues of inequality are the key perspective of both historical and systematic analyses of today’s civil society.

The “civic engagement” project group has been part of the research group since 2009. It examines involvement on the individual level and the activity of civil society organizations, based on the third-sector approach.