English title: European Civil Societies Compared. Typically German - Typically French?

Author(s): Edith Archambault - Eckhart Priller - Annette Zimmer -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014

Abstract

According to the ‘social origin theory’ of civil society studies (Salamon and Anheier, Voluntas, 9(3): 213–248 (1998)), the nonprofit sector of today constitutes a ‘repository of former societal struggles and conflicts’. Correspondingly, nonprofits are embedded in administrative and organizational settings, which in many cases date as far back as the latter half of the 19th century—a time when industrialisation and urbanisation started to exert influence in the western world. France and Germany stand for very different societal traditions, political legacies and administrative structures. Traditionally, France is a highly centralized country in which local governments do not enjoy much autonomy. In contrast, Germany is a federalized country where self-government of local communities was introduced as early as at the beginning of the 19th century. Against this background, it comes as a surprise that, aside from few exceptions, the nonprofit sectors in the two countries are very similar. How does this come? We argue that the reason why the French nonprofit sector of today is very similar to the German nonprofit sector is closely linked to the growth of the welfare state in the two countries.

Volume: 25

Issue: 2

From page no: 514

To page no: 537

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1007/S11266-013-9349-6

Journal: VOLUNTAS - International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations