The Civil Society Department

Dr hab. Dariusz Gawin, prof. IFiS PAN Head
Dr hab. Galia Chimiak, prof. IFiS PAN
Dr  Artur Kościański (Archiwum Danych Społecznych)

The Civil Society Department at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology with the Polish Academy of Sciences has been one of the leading researcher centers studying civil society and activism in the public sphere. Members of the Department have been engaged in undertaking basic research regarding issues related to the social, cultural and political conditions of civil society for more than thirty years now. Academics affiliated with the Department have thus conducted sociological, historical and philosophical studies on societal self-organisation, civic institutions, social change, solidarity, community ties, civic ethics, lifestyles, civic dialogue, public policies, citizenship education as well as issues related to the concepts of the common good, the relationship between the state and its citizens as well as the changes observed in liberal democracies.

When it comes to historical studies, these encompassed both the evolution of the concept of civil society and changes in citizenship practices. These analyses covered a relatively broad scope, i.e. associational traditions, civil society in modern history (1945-1990) but also self-organisation over the last three decades. The analysis of civil society from the point of view of the role of the Polish intelligentsia but also the history of political philosophy and political thought comprise an important aspect of these studies. The impact of literature on political attitudes during the XIX and XX centuries has likewise been of interest.

Sociological studies undertaken at the Department focus on civic culture, the political contexts of civil society, theories of association, civic values, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), new social movements, social trust, uninstitutionalised grassroots activism, social capital of civil society leaders, social entrepreneurship but also social exclusion, the role of new information technologies in shaping civic practices, social innovations, the role of NGOs in international development cooperation, the impact of democratic backsliding on advocacy NGOs, and others.

Research conducted by Department members relies on qualitative and quantitative analyses. We have for example done studies on civic indices in social studies. The empirical projects and seminars organised by the Department – engaging academics as well as representatives of civil society – have been inspired by the concepts of pracademia and action research.

International and intercultural studies have likewise comprised an important aspect of our work. We have thus undertaken comparative and case studies of the functioning of civil societies in Western Europe (Ireland, Sweden, France, Germany), East and Central Europe (Lithuania, Slovenia, Ukraine, Czechia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Hercegovina) as well as Asian countries (China, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan). A Michał Boym Dialogue Lab Poland Asia has been functioning since 2012, too.

Our Department has been actively engaged in international cooperation. We have organised and attended numerous conferences in Poland and abroad. We have cooperated with the European Commission and have realised research visits at universities in Europe (University College Dublin in Ireland, London School of Economics in the UK, Tuebingen University in Germany) as well as Asian academic centres (Fudan University in Shanghai, China; National Central Library in Taipei, Taiwan and the Japan Foundation for Promotion of Science in Tokyo, Japan). Academics from the Department have been lecturers at universities in the USA, Germany, Japan, Ireland and Taiwan.

We are active members of the Polish Sociological Association, the Society for Third Sector Research , Development Studies Association Ireland. Department’s members have provided evaluation services to governmental and non-governmental institutions in Poland and abroad (such as the European Commission, Maynooth University in Ireland; Soochow University, Taipei; Center for Advanced Studies of Fudan University, Shanghai). Academics affiliated with the Department have been engaged in supervising and reviewing the work of MA and PhD students.

Galia Chimiak is an editor-in-chief (together with Fredrik O. Andersson and Susan Appe) of one of the leading international journals dealing with civil society issues, i.e. the published by Springer Nature VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations (2022 Impact factor: 2.4). In 2020-2022 she was also the Convenor of the Civil Society Study Group with Development Studies Association Ireland.

The Civil Society Department (or its individual members) have recently been engaged in the following research projects:

Dariusz Gawin

  • 2018-2019, Taipei-Warsaw,  “Unto a full-grown citizen! Social activism and trust after three decades of transition in Taiwan and Poland”
  • 1998-2002, Polskie zmagania z historią (together with Tomasza Merta)
  • 2000-2012, Badania nad historią idei samoorganizacji w kontekście ewolucji ideowej lewicy postrewizjonistycznej w Polsce
  • 2002-2015 Teologia Polityczna. Rocznik Filozoficzny

Artur Kościański

  • 2018-2019, Taipei-Warsaw, director and coordinator of the Polish research team, “Unto a full-grown citizen! Social activism and trust after three decades of transition in Taiwan and Poland”
  • 2017, Shanghai, director, “Social innovation and responsible transition in Shanghai”
  • 2016, Taipei-Warsaw, director (witch cooperation of Chang Chia-ming, Soochow University) “Civil Society as a Condition of Balanced Governance in Contemporary Taiwan”
  • 2014-2015, Taipei, director, “Responsible Innovations and Cohesion Challenges. State-Society Relations and Combating of Social Problems – Polish and Taiwanese Cases”
  • 2013, Tokyo, director, “Civil society in Poland and Japan”
  • 2011-2012, Taipei, director, “Changing nature of civil society: Difficulties and opportunities of civil participation in Poland and Taiwan”

Galia Chimiak

  • 2021-2024: contribution to NAWA STER „Sustainable International Growth in Doctoral Education: Collaboration and Mobility @ GSSR”
  • 2022: research project “Studying advocacy NGOs in Poland” funded by Batory Foundation and the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for Civil Society Development and implemented by Klon/Jawor Association
  • 2018-2019: Resourceful civil society? The role of resources in civil societies in Russia, Poland and Sweden (The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences).
  • 2014-2015: „Nieodkryty wymiar III sektora – badania niezinstytucjonalizowanych przejawów społecznikostwa”  (Ministerstwo Pracy i Polityki Społecznej).
  • 2013: „Opracowanie kompleksowych i trwałych mechanizmów wsparcia dla poradnictwa prawnego i obywatelskiego w Polsce” (Ministerstwo Pracy i Polityki Społecznej)
  • 2013: „Nic o nas bez nas. Partycypacja obywatelska Polaków w Wielkiej Brytanii” (Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych)

Most important books authored or co-edited by the Civil Society Department members:

Kościański, W. Misztal. [eds.] 2022. Wzory obywatelskości – gry salonowe czy zwyczaje domowe?. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Chimiak, B. Cierlik [eds.] 2020. Polish and Irish Struggles for Self-Determination. Living near Dragons. Newcastle upon Tyne.
Kościański, W. Misztal. [eds.] 2019. Falująca obywatelskość – stare wzory i nowe tendencje. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Chimiak. 2016. The Growth of Non-Governmental Development Organisations in Poland and Their Cooperation with Polish Aid. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Kościański, G. Chimiak, W. Misztal. [eds.] 2015. Uśpieni czy innowatorzy – obywatele wobec kryzysu., IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Chimiak i K. Iwińska [eds.], 2015, Krajobraz społecznościowy – Polska 2014, Warszawa
Kościański, Le Hai. [eds.] 2013. Teritorial Conflicts on West Coast of Pacific Ocean. Le Publishing, Warsaw
Kościański, W. Misztal. [eds.] 2012. Rozdroża społeczeństwa obywatelskiego. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Chimiak, M. Fronia [eds.] 2012. Globalizaja a rozwój: szanse i wyzwania dla Polski. Warszawa
Gliński, A. Kościański. [eds.] 2009. Siciński i socjologia – style życia, społeczeństwo obywatelskie i przyszłość. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Kościański, W. Misztal. [eds.] 2008. Społeczeństwo obywatelskie – między idea a praktyką. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Gliński. 2006. Style działania organizacji pozarządowych w Polsce: grupy interesu czy pożytku publicznego?. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Chimiak. 2006. How Individualists Make Solidarity Work. Warszawa
Gliński, A. Gawkowska, A. Kościański. [eds.] 2005. Teorie wspólnotowe a praktyka społeczna. IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Gawin, 2013, Wielki zwrot. Ewolucja lewicy i odrodzenie idei społeczeństwa obywatelskiego 1956-1976, ZNAK, Kraków
Gawin, 2005, Polska, wieczny romans. O związkach literatury i polityki w XX wieku, Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej, Kraków
Gawin, 2006, Blask i gorycz wolności. Eseje o polskim doświadczeniu wolności, Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej, Kraków
Gawin, 2007, Granice demokracji liberalnej. Szkice z filozofii politycznej i historii idei, Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej, Kraków
Gawin [ed.], 2002, Lekcja Sierpnia. Dziedzictwo Solidarności po 20 latach, IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Gawin, P. Gliński [eds.], 2006, Civil society in the making, IFiS PAN, Warsaw
Gawin [eds.], 1999, Homo eligens. Społeczeństwo świadomego wyboru. Księga jubileuszowa ku czci Andrzeja Sicińskiego, IFiS PAN, Warszawa
Gawin [wstęp, wybór i opracowanie tekstów], 2004, Spór o Powstanie. Powstanie Warszawskie w powojennej publicystyce polskiej 1945-1981, Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego, Warszawa

Adres: Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii PAN,
00-330 Warszawa, ul. Nowy Świat 72, pokój 238,
tel. 657 28 52
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