Social Movements and Volunteerism

The paradigm of Civil Society enjoyed great popularity in East and West after 1989 and was closely connected to the transformation discourses of the time. Building on such discourses, this research area focuses on the one hand on phenomena of civil engagement and volunteerism. Within this framework, an ongoing project on volunteerism and voluntary fire fighters is expanded in cooperation with the Department for Non-Profit Organizations at Vienna University of Economics and Business. On the other hand, we extend the focus to also include social movements pursuing a decidedly anti-liberal agenda. Far-right associations and parties use the open borders in Europe and the weak legal structures in the post-socialist states for transnational networking and reciprocal reinforcement. This development has some parallels with the interwar period, which is why here, too, diachronic comparisons and references can prove fruitful for a combination of history and the social sciences (in this context, particularly social and cultural anthropology).