Finding a Bowling Partner: The Role of Stakeholders in Activating Civil Society in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom

Bovaird, Tony; Löffler, Elke and Parrado-Díez, Salvador (2002). Finding a Bowling Partner: The Role of Stakeholders in Activating Civil Society in Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Public Management Review, 4(3) pp. 411–431.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14616670210151621

Abstract

An 'activism index', combining data on membership of civil associations and societies and the level of activism suggests that, notwithstanding cultural differences, civil activism in European countries could be a great deal higher than its current level. If higher civic participation is to be achieved, each stakeholder group within local governance can play an 'activation' role in relation to citizens, both as individuals and in relation to the voluntary organizations which represent citizens in their collective activities. In practice, different stakeholder groups play this role in widely differing ways in the contexts of Germany, Spain and the UK. In the future, we can expect the lead role in activating civil society in each country to be taken by different stakeholders, depending on the trust currently placed in them by other stakeholders in the community and by the resources which they command.An 'activism index', combining data on membership of civil associations and societies and the level of activism suggests that, notwithstanding cultural differences, civil activism in European countries could be a great deal higher than its current level. If higher civic participation is to be achieved, each stakeholder group within local governance can play an 'activation' role in relation to citizens, both as individuals and in relation to the voluntary organizations which represent citizens in their collective activities. In practice, different stakeholder groups play this role in widely differing ways in the contexts of Germany, Spain and the UK. In the future, we can expect the lead role in activating civil society in each country to be taken by different stakeholders, depending on the trust currently placed in them by other stakeholders in the community and by the resources which they command.

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