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01-05-2018 | Hauptbeiträge | Special Issue 1/2018 Open Access

Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 1/2018

European Solidarity in Times of Crisis: Comparing Transnational Activism of Civic Organisations in Germany and Greece

Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie > Special Issue 1/2018
Christian Lahusen, Maria Kousis, Ulrike Zschache, Angelos Loukakis


Civil society organisations have been engaged in solidarity practices in various issue areas, both within their countries and beyond. This paper is interested in analysing whether and to what extent civic initiatives and organisations are involved in transnational solidarity activities within Europe. Moreover, it wishes to identify those factors that seem to promote or inhibit the scope of transnational European activities. The paper compares the situation in two countries (Greece and Germany) on the basis of data on transnationally-oriented civic groups and organisations committed to organising solidarity activities in three fields of work (disabilities, unemployment and immigration of refugees). The analyses show that most solidarity organisations remain active primarily at the local and/or national level/s, and that only a minority of solidarity organisations are engaged in cross-national activities. European activities are associated with organisations maintaining a web of transnational partners and a more politicised mission. Moreover, formalisation and professionalisation seem to be conducive to transnational activism, as much as to global activism. These findings show that cross-national activism can develop at the grass-roots level on the basis of a transnational organisational field that is not necessarily dependent on organisational linkages to the supra- and intergovernmental field of European governance.

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