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Civil society in transition: the East German third sector ten years after unification

Anheier, Helmut K., Priller, Eckhard and Zimmer, Annette (2000) Civil society in transition: the East German third sector ten years after unification. Civil Society Working Paper series (15). Centre for Civil Society (London School of Economics and Political Science), London, UK. ISBN 0753013800

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This paper examines two competing views that have been put forward about the East German third sector. One view sees the third sector in East Germany as an expression of civil society, rooted in an emerging democratic culture, and based on a broadening social participation. According to the other view, the East German third sector is largely an extension of West German organisations that, in the process of “peaceful colonisation,” created “organisational shells” without a corresponding “embeddedness” in local society. The paper suggests that the way the policy of subsidiarity has been implemented in Germany may help account for such competing interpretations: subsidiarity has created tendencies toward a bipartite third sector, with each part differing in size, scope and financial structure. One part is relatively well funded and state-supported, the other characterized by small organisations and membership orientation. The unification process has amplified these tendencies, which, in the context of public austerity budgets, are having repercussions on the system of financing non-profit organisations as a whole. Thus, compared to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe the emerging third sector in East Germany is unique.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2000 The authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2010 11:50
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 22:48

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