We define civil society organisations as legal non-profit entities, which pursue a common purpose in the public interest. The activities of these organizations need to span countries and/or have a specific European or cross-border context; for example, ‘reconciliation’ groups as of Polish and German people bridging the gap of World War II and the Holocaust, conflict resolution groups in Northern Ireland, and environmental groups spanning the boundaries between national interests in face of global ecological risks. We are investigating the biographical impact of experiences of groups whose members, while pursuing a shared interest, may start from culturally, politically or religiously opposed positions. In these contexts a change of perspective might be fostered by Europeanness as a common denominator for deliberation. Those of us dealing with the CSO ‘sensitized group’ intend to develop and maintain a special relationship with the targeted organisations. They will receive feedback from the research findings from an early stage. By these means, the organizations will be actively involved in development of the research conclusions and at the same time their work will be effectively supported in the arena of public debate.
Dr. Ulrike Nagel
Otto-von-Guericke Universitaet, Magdeburg