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Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 4078-4099; doi:10.3390/su7044078

Sustainable Civil-Society Engagement: Potentials of a Transnational Civil Society in French-German, Polish-German, and Czech-German Border Regions

1
Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences, Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, D-28759 Bremen, Germany
2
Department of Sociology, Chemnitz University of Technology, D-09107 Chemnitz, Germany
3
Data Center and Method Development, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, Wilhelmsplatz 3, 96047 Bamberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yuejing Ge
Received: 16 December 2014 / Revised: 31 March 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borderland Studies and Sustainability)
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Abstract

Based on representative survey data, the present study examines potentials for the sustainable development of a transnational civil society in French-German, Polish-German, and Czech-German border regions. The theoretical framework is a social capital approach in the tradition of Putnam. Transnational engagement is seen as a key element for the development of a border-crossing civil society. For the analysis, existing forms of social capital were classified according to their bridging and bonding functions and the potentials of local and transnational activities are described. Furthermore, using multilevel analysis, the predictive power of different variables like individual dispositions and specific contexts of the regions on cross-border activities are examined. Descriptively, the expected lower level of local civil-society engagement, in general, and also with regard to the transnational activities was found for post-socialist border regions. It is shown that, first and foremost, existing experience in civil-society engagement in the local context is a high-impact predictor for both transnational activities and an interest in such activities. Other variables like feelings of a historical burden or the economic situation of the region are less important. View Full-Text
Keywords: civil society; border regions; Germany; Poland; France; Czech Republic civil society; border regions; Germany; Poland; France; Czech Republic
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Boehnke, K.; Rippl, S.; Fuss, D. Sustainable Civil-Society Engagement: Potentials of a Transnational Civil Society in French-German, Polish-German, and Czech-German Border Regions. Sustainability 2015, 7, 4078-4099.

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