Civil Society in the ‘Visegrád Four’

Opusculum 74 | 30.07.2014 | Data and Literature in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia



Executive Summary

The first of three publications on the ’25 Years After Mapping Civil Society in the Visegrád Four’ project contains an overview of existing data and literature in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It looks at where and what kind of research on civil society has been and is being done, who is doing it and where the gaps are.To be consistent and comparable, the four country reports include the same core sections: relevant publications on civil society in the respective country; existing databases and other data sources; active centres of research, training, and policy studies. More than providing just a list, we look at how they can be evaluated in terms of scope, accurateness and depth. Finally, we consider the question what the most crucial gaps in research and funding in the countries are.With this commented collection of data, we aim at providing a basis for further research on and the development of civil society in the region. Also, we try to show the state of the research infrastructure as it has developed over the last 25 years.To this end, we take a look at the alignment of existing institutions. Public institutions, e.g. statistical offices are important providers of studies and usable rawdata in all four countries. Private research institutions also exist, but their activity is different in each of the countries. Given little support and resources, they are yet involved in reducing the gaps left by public research. Public institutions concentrate on questions relating to the ’Third Sector’ and its economic capacity, as is the case in most European countries.The best data are available for Poland and Hungary. Hungary has a long tradition in collecting data about NPOs. Each year since 1993, the Hungarian central statistical office collects data from all NPOs and publishes an overview anda comprehensive analysis based on the findings. In addition, for more than 20 years, the NonProfit Research Centre in Budapest has been an important player in Hungarian civil society research and international exchange. But the low level of cooperation between public and private institutions in Hungary does not encourage the development of networks and improvements in the field.In Poland, the central statistical office and the national court registry are the most important sources ofstatistical data on civil society. Since 2011, public institutions collect and provide data not only about third sector organisations but also about volunteering. Private organisations, namely the Klon/Jawor Association, are active in research as well. Whereas public institutions mainly focus on economic factors, these private research centres also address qualitative issues.In the Czech Republic, research on civil society is still quite embryonic. Also, the data available on NGOs and civil society are not very substantial. Researchers in the field miss a willingness to strengthen cooperation between public institutions and civil society organisations. Nevertheless, there are some public programmes collecting data, mostly about economic factors of civil society organisations.In Slovakia, research on civil society is also underdeveloped and insufficient. Basic information about the institutional, economical and social characteristics of civil society organisations is often missing. The scant existing data only provide basic information about NGOs derived from registration documents. In comparison to other countries, the existing data lack sufficient quantitative and qualitative depth.

Anna Domaradzka

Poland, Robert B. Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw

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Miroslav Pospíšil

Czech Republic, Society for the Study of the Nonprofit Sector, Brno

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Boris Strečanský

Slovakia, Centrum pre filantropiu n.o., Bratislava

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Máté Szabó & Eszter Márkus

Hungary, Eötvös Loránd University,Faculty of Law,Institute of Political Science, Budapest

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