Managing rural communities: The role of local civil societies

The capacity of local civil societies to provide missing services and contribute to sustainable community building lies at the core of discussions on the future of rural areas in Sweden. Systematic and theoretically informed empirical studies of the roles and possibilities of local civil societies to partake in community building in rural contexts are however lacking.

The aim is therefore to generate know ledge concerning the role of local civil societies for maintaining and developing services in sparsely populated areas in the Swedish countryside and its effects on community building. Research questions:
a) how do civil society organisations (CSOs) act to provide services and infrastructure in rural contexts?
b) what local conditions enable or constrain CSOs as service providers?
c) what are the effects on local society of civil society taking over responsibility for local services?

We contribute to discussions on the role of civil society from a non-urban point of departure and on how to conceptualize civil society in order to encompass hybrid organizational forms by combining civil society research with ruraland regional studies. The fieldwork will take place in four sites in two regions. We will apply an ethnographic approach, combining participant observations, interviews and written sources.

Social issues to work with in the future

Our education is linked to the UN's 17 global goals for sustainable development. These are goals that you can get tools to work with in the future:

U.N's global goals: Good health and well-beingU.N's global goals: Sustainable cities and communitiesU.N's global goals: Responsible consumption and production

About the project:

Project group/collaborators:
  • Johan Von Essen,
  • Marie Nordfeldt,
  • Karlstads Universitet och Patrik Cras,
  • Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet
Time period: 2020-2023
Research area: Center for Civil Society Research
Project status: Ongoing
Financier: Formas

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Last updated:
4 January 2022