Bordering on the unknown: Approaches to global civil society data

Jill Timms, S. Stares, S. Deel

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The Global Civil Society Yearbook programme has always involved efforts to collate and collect data that might inform our understanding of this complex phenomenon. In addition to the empirical evidence used by chapter authors, we have included sections of quantitative data in most editions. These have been compiled from a number of sources and presented in various formats, following a conceptual framework devised by Helmut Anheier (Anheier 2001).

The concepts that are central to the study of global civil society (GCS) do not lend themselves easily to the classical, conventional research methods and methodologies of the social sciences. Anheier and Katz have explored a number of ways in which existing data might be analysed for GCS studies, whilst Timms has managed a pilot study in collecting new data on civil society events through a network of GCS correspondents, and Pianta has collected data on parallel summits and GCS events. At the same time, the evolving literature about the nature of GCS has produced some key theoretical principles from which methodologies for capturing GCS might be further developed. And lastly, technologies enabling citizens to report data themselves have become widely accessible and increasingly used by civil society actors.

In this chapter we outline the nature and challenges of operationalising GCS with empirical data, and propose a new data collection initiative that builds on the latest practical and theoretical contributions to this project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Civil Society 2012: Ten years of critical reflection
EditorsM. Kaldor, H. Moore, S. Selchow
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-0-230-36787-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here:


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