Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii
Wersja polska


Dariusz Gawin, Associate Professor, Head

Piotr Gliński, Professor
Galia Chimiak, Assistant Professor
Artur Kościański, Assistant Professor 

The Civil Society Department at IFIS PAN pioneered research on civic initiatives in Poland. For the last thirty years the Department has been involved in conducting basic research on the social, cultural philosophical and political aspects of civil society and related issues. Examples of such theoretical and empirical analyses include studies on the theoretical thinking related to societal self-organisation in Poland since the late 1950s, on the philosophical history of the idea of civil society [see Five texts on civil society (Pięćtekstów o społeczeństwieobywatelskim(P. Ogrodziński 1991)] as well as research on the development of institutionalized civic activity commenced in the 1980s and intensified after the toppling of communism. These are namely studies on the non-governmental sector, new social movements, social capital, the human capital of social entrepreneurs, social exclusion, the impact of new information technologies on life-styles and civic participation, social innovations, the role of NGOs in international development cooperation, and so on.

Thus studies conducted at the Institute focus on formal as well as informal institutions of civil society. Research projects included both studies on societal self-organisation in Poland and comparative studies. The Institute utilizes qualitative as well as quantitative research methods. The Department also conducted studies on civic indices in social research (analysis of their theoretical validity and empirical reliability). Empirical research and workshops – involving a variety of stakeholders, i.e. researchers and civic activists – organized by the Department implement the principles of action research and civic dialogue by involving representatives of civil society and decision-makers.

Among the outcomes of these workshops are the following publications: Wielkizwrot.Ewolucja lewicy i odrodzenia idei społeczeństwa obywatelskiego 1956-1976(The Great U-turn. The Evolution of the Leftist Movement and the Rebirth of the Idea of Civil Society 1956-1976, D.Gawin 2013), Globalizaja a rozwój: szanse i wyzwania dla Polski (Globalization and Development: Opportunities and Challenges for Poland,Chimiak, Fronia 2012), Rozdroża idei i praktyki społeczeństwa obywatelskiego (Ideas and Practices of Civil Society at the Crossroads, Kościański, Misztal eds. 2012), Civil society: between ideas and praxis (Społeczeństwo obywatelskie.Między ideą a praktyką(Kościański, Misztal red. 2008); Style działania organizacji pozarządowych w Polsce: grupy interesu czy pożytku publicznego?(Non-governmental Organisations’ Mode of Activities in Poland: Interest Groups or Public Benefit?Gliński 2006), How Individualists Make Solidarity Work(Chimiak 2006), Civil Society in the Making(Gliński, Gawin eds. 2005), Communitarian theories and social practice.The civic, the political and the local (Teorie wspólnotowe a praktyka społeczna.Obywatelskość, polityka, lokalność(Gawkowska, Gliński, Kościański red 2005); Samoorganizacja społeczeństwa polskiego – III sektor i wspólnoty lokalne w jednoczącej się Europie (Self-organisation of Polish society – Third sector and Local Communities in United Europe,Gliński, Lewenstein, Siciński eds. 2004). Researchers have experience in lecturing at graduate and post-graduate level. Having in mind the enclave character of civil society in Poland and the fact that it is still evolving, it is crucial to continue conducting studies on the development of the sector and uninstitutionalised civic initiatives. In this context it would be important to research the type and manifestations of social innovations in the framework of broadly understood governance and new public policies.

Researchers from the Department are actively involved in international cooperation, too. These activities include organization and participation in international conferences in Poland and abroad, cooperation in the framework of three consortia preparing project proposals submitted to FP7 in 2010, 2011 and 2012, involvement in projects implemented under FP5 and FP6, science exchange visits to China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mongolia. Researchers from IFiS PAN have also been visiting fellows, for example in Taiwanese and Irish universities.

Since many years the studies conducted at the Department have (also) been oriented towards building the body of knowledge directly applicable into social practice (for example in the area of Polish civic sector’s reform: “Ideal vision of the Polish civic sector” Idealna wizja polskiego sektora obywatelskiego, Gliński „Trzeci Sektor” nr. 26, 2012).

Address: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology PAN, 00-330 Warsaw,
Nowy Świat 72, Room 238,
tel. (48 22) 657-28-52; fax (48 22) 826-78-23