Civil society organizations have special roles and positions in every society. They often constitute an organizational field of their own, exhibit special features and fullfil unique functions.
Since the early 1990s, researchers at the Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies have developed an extensive research program. The role, position and character of civil society and its organizations are key to the research questions raised and two of the center's main and long-term contributions can be noticed.
Firstly, combined theoretical and empirical efforts – in close cooperation with international academic partners – have been crucial in mapping the development and contours of the Swedish nonprofit sector (den ideella sektorn). These efforts have been instrumental in bringing the sector, its various organizations and fields to the academic arena as well as into the public debate: thus “putting the sector on the map”. In a second but integrated step, a number of in-depth studies primarily focused on strategy and organization are conducted with the aim and ambition to contribute to a better understanding of how civil society organisations are governed, led and operated.
In order to enhance and promote the dissemination of results and knowledge from our research, researchers at the center early on took the initiative to project what later on became IDEELL ARENA and recently also started the publishing house European Civil Society Press. Among the most popular publications aimed at a Swedish audience is the edited volume Civilsamhället i samhällskontraktet (Civil Society in the Social Contract) featuring 12 chapters by 15 scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines and many different universities.
Interview with Center Director Filip Wijkström in ”Ducatus, ett magasin om att leda och arbeta i kyrka och begravningsverksamhet” (www.ducatus.se)