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Center for Civil Society Research 2021
David Ausserhofer

The Center for Civil Society Research has an integrative research approach that systematically combines research on political protest and social movements with the empirical analysis of political conflict structuration and social capital. The research program in the center’s founding phase is divided into three main areas.  The first area is devoted to the analysis of long-term changes of political conflict structuring. The projects in this area shall provide insights into the development of mobilization potentials in civil society, the restructuring of political conflict in the protest and electoral area, and into the politicization of societal key issues.  The projects in the second area focus on changes in the organizational landscapes of civil society and the dynamic interaction of different political actors and arenas. The projects in the third area deal with research problems at the interface of social capital and political protest.  Apart from thematically specific projects the Center for Civil Society Research aims at institutionalizing a data infrastructure for the long term observation of political conflict and protest in Germany (and further European countries). In the longer term the Center should cover the entire field of civil society research and strengthen networking among science, civil society and politics.

The center is jointly supported by the WZB and the Freie Universität Berlin. During its founding phase the center will be funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Foundation.

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Katja Geiger
+49 30 25491-303
Mail: sek-zz [at]

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin

The Observatory for Political Conflict and Democracyis online! It contains data on protests, election campaigns and debates. PolDem is an initiative of the Center for Civil Society Research and the European University Institute.

Roundtable: Reviving Social Capital Theory or Searching for New Key Concepts?
7 July, 2022

Roundtable: Reviving Social Capital Theory or Searching for New Key Concepts?

In the context of a two-day workshop on the future of social capital in civil society research, we hosted a public roundtable revolving around the central question of the workshop: What is the current state of social capital theory, and to what extent do we require new key concepts?

Speakers: Paul Lichterman (University of Southern California), Hjalmar Bang Carlsen (University of Copenhagen) and Priska Daphi (University of Bielefeld) 

The Revolutionary City
Princeton University Press
April 27, 2022

The Revolutionary City: Urbanization and the Global Transformation of Rebellion

Lecture by Mark R. Beissinger, Princeton University

Nicole Bolleyer: Civil Society’s Democratic Potential
April 20, 2022

Civil Society’s Democratic Potential: Organizational Trade-offs between Participation and Representation

Lecture by Nicole Bolleyer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Farben der Ukraine mit Titel der Veranstaltung
March 15, 2022

Social Science Perspectives on War

WZB Discussion

Leading researchers of the WZB Berlin shed light on the conflict and its implications from a social science perspective. Which factors led to the war and what role did Western countries play in it? What are the consequences for the world order? Which actions and policies are needed to tackle the situation?

With short inputs by Edgar GrandeRuud KoopmansYasemin Soysal, and Bernhard Weßels, followed by a panel debate with Mattias KummDaniel Ziblatt, and Michael Zürn.

Workshop on protest research
October 28-29, 2021

Contentious Interactions: Frontiers in Protest Research workshop

This workshop brought together scholars working on protest dynamics from Europe, the United States and elsewhere. The aim was to take stock of current developments in three fields: the dynamics of protest and electoral politics; protest and networks of grassroots mobilization; radicalization in protest on- and offline - with a keynote speech by Theda Skocpol and a concluding roundtable. 

Watch the keynote speech and roundtable discussion.

Program protest workshop


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