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Welcome to the WordPress site for the University of Portsmouth’s Transnational Civil Society Research Project.

Civil society actors, especially non-governmental organizations (NGOs), increasingly work across borders to influence regional and global politics. We understand civil society actors and the repertoire of actions they mobilise to realise their objectives, in turn, as increasingly affected by (European) regionalisation and globalisation. 

This strategic project (SP) is keen to strengthen regional and global perspectives on democracy and citizenship. It seeks to understand: the formation of transnational networks of NGOs and individual policy entrepreneurs; their internal organisation and working practices; their interaction with state actors (governments and international organisations); and their impact on regional and global politics. 

Building on the groundwork laid during its successful first phase (2015-19), the SP has been granted faculty funding for two years (2019-21). 

Our research, networking, preparation of external funding bids and impact work is organized into three streams, which have been developed to reflect contemporary political challenges and our research interests. 

  • Stream 1 addresses INGO policies and practices in cross-border and intercultural contexts. 
  • Stream 2 focuses on transnational civil society networks, and formation, cooperation and promotion of citizenship rights, democracy and regional integration both in Europe and between world regions. 
  • Stream 3 centres on transnational civil society interaction with political authorities, studying the impact of external shocks (e.g. economic crisis and Brexit) on their work and how they co-shape politics and policy-making, e.g. through activism, interest representation and litigation.

The project will produce several high-quality publications and large external funding bids. Members will stage an international conference (Civil Society Under Attack), as well as four workshops with policy-makers and NGO practitioners. Members will also generate impact by advising NGOs on their internal policies.

The project has recently secured new European Union funding for the Centre for the Study of Transnational Europe (CESTE). CESTE was created in 2013 and is associated with the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for European and International Studies Research. It is funded under the Jean Monnet scheme for research and teaching on Europe and the European Union and is led by Dr Karen Heard-Laureote, Jean Monnet Chair and Reader in European Politics. CESTE currently has three research streams: exploring narratives about European integration, led by Professor Wolfram Kaiser; societal actors and networking in a disintegrating Europe, led by Dr Nora Siklodi; and global actors’ narratives and engagement with Europe and the EU, led by Dr Ed Stoddard. For further information see here: http://www.port.ac.uk/jean-monnet-centre-of-excellence-for-the-study-of-a-transnational-europe/

This research project is funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Portsmouth.


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