9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN03 Biographical Perspectives on European Societies

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Euroidentities. The Evolution of European Identity: Using biographical methods to study the development of European identity. Part II Building II, C2.02

"Civil Society Organisations" Spanning boundaries'. The biographical impact of civil society organizations on Europeaness

"Civil Society Organisations"Spanning the boundaries? The biographical impact of civil society organizations on Europeaness
Civil society organisations are an important feature of public arenas within Europe playing a remarkable role in processes of governance. We define civil society organisations as legal non-profit entities, which pursue a common purpose in the public interest. In our project we are researching the activities and the biographical impact of organizations which are spanning countries and/or have a specific European or cross-border context:"reconciliation" groups as of Polish and German people bridging the gap of World War II and the Holocaust, conflict resolution groups in Northern Ireland, human rights organizations, and environmental groups spanning the boundaries between national interests in face of global ecological risks. We are investigating the activities of groups whose members, while pursuing a shared interest, start from culturally, politically or religiously opposed positions. In these contexts a change of perspective might be fostered by Europeanness as a common denominator for deliberation. But we may also observe forces at work, like biographical and national feelings of belongingness, of difference, or of unique individual experiences or dedications, which retard or even forbid the transitory processes of reciprocication and universalization inherent in the evolution of collective identities such as a European identity.
Those of us dealing with the CSO "sensitized group" intend to develop and maintain a special relationship with the targeted organisations. They will receive feedback from the research findings from an early stage. By these means, the organizations will be actively involved in development of the research conclusions and at the same time their work will be effectively supported in the arena of public debate.
Coordinator: Dr. habil. Ulrike Nagel
Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg ulrike.nagel@ovgu.de