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Impact of European Integration on patterns of inter-organizational collaboration among civil society organizations in East-Central Europe.

Open Panel

Abstract

It remains self-evident that European integration has built and strenghtened capacities of civil society organizations through connecting them to transnational flows of information, money and ties. However, students of social movements warn that “Europeanization” of these organizations might have happened at the expense of their local embeddedness. Unlike many others, who tried to approach this problem using either only qualitative tools, or focusing on particular country-specific context, this paper offers an attempt explore relationship between European Integration and domestic integration from cross-national, comparative perspective combining quantitative and qualitative methods. In the first part of the paper, based on data from 490 civil society organizations from Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, patterns of embeddedness in domestic inter-organizational ties are identified and transformatory power of European integration is discussed. It appears that civil society organizations equipped with dense ties to other local actors (other nonprofits, municipality) are not only the single “pattern” accountable to members, activists and clients, but also have not been affected by EU On the contrary, organizations without any enduring inter-organizational ties, or with ties only to higher level of government represent the most Europeanized part of the sector. Second part of the paper focuses on the issue of differential impact of European integration on Polish and Czech civil society organizations. Here, drawing on the concepts borrowed from the literature on social movements i.e. multi-level political opportunity structure and resource mobilization, different extent of processes of Europeanization in these two countries (“shallow” in Poland, and “deeper” in Czech) are accounted for. It is argued that different logics of decentralisation and processes of horizontal community building providing different opportunities and resources for Polish and Czech organizations. Finally, consequences for the sustainability of the sector are discussed.