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Summarizing six years of studies of the Civil Society Elites

Boken Civil Society Elites

After six years of studies, the research team concludes the work and findings at webinar and with open access book.

Earlier this week, Project Investigator Håkan Johansson presented the research output at a webinar, hosted by research network RN32 Political Sociology, European Sociological Association (ESA). 

PI Håkan Johansson reports on the Research project "Civil Society Elites".


Se the full presentation here

Open access book

The book titled Civil Society Elites: Exploring the Composition, Reproduction, Integration, and Contestation of Civil Society Actors at the Top, is an open access book that summerizes the research output of the project. It introduces a groundbreaking concept - civil society elites - and serves as an essential resource for scholars, researchers and students interested in the complexities of power and influence within contemporary civil societies. Through a series of unique empirical studies, the authors offer a comprehensive examination of the individuals occupying the upper echelons of influential civil society organisations and movements. By delving into the factors that propel individuals into key positions and examining the connections between civil society leaders within and across sectors, the book offers insight into the mechanisms that shape access to powerful positions in civil societies. As a reflection of current debates on elites and populism, the book furthermore explores the expression and conceptualisation of counter-elite positions and criticism of civil society elites. With its original approach, the book serves as a catalyst for further research into inequalities, power structures and elites within civil societies.

Editors: Håkan Johansson and Anna Meeuwisse.

You'll find the open access book Civil Society Elites: Exploring the Composition, Reproduction, Integration, and Contestation of Civil Society Actors at the Tophere:
Civil Society Elites: Exploring the Composition, Reproduction, Integration, and Contestation of Civil Society Actors at the Top | SpringerLink

The research project

The research program brings together elite studies and civil society studies in order to develop the first systematic and cross-country comparative analysis of civil society elites. This is important because of the significant power inequalities that have been observed within and between civil society organizations and because certain civil society actors have gained significant access to exclusive arenas where societal decision-makers meet for formal and informal deliberations and policy-making. While these trends are frequently discussed they have not been systematically researched. Our focus on elites challenges conventional research on civil society as an arena for citizens’ mobilization and participation. The program moves beyond current elite studies by addressing an elite group previously not studied. Analyzing elites ‘within’ as well as ‘beyond’ civil society, we will study the composition of civil society elites, how they are reproduced, how they become integrated with other elite groups, and by whom, on what grounds and with what effects they are contested. Using an innovative combination of quantitative and qualitative methods we will examine what mechanisms and processes lead to elite consolidation or elite contestations across four European countries (Sweden, Italy, Poland and the UK) as well as on the EU level and the consequences of elites for the roles that civil society is expected to play. 

For detailed information, see the programme website: Civil Society Elites? | Civil Society Elites? (lu.se)