For some time the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development has had a research programme on civil society and social movements designed to generate a more realistic understanding of social actions and dynamics in civil society. In the late 1990s, it sought to analyse social initiatives and actions at the grassroots for protecting or improving access to resources, income and services in specific urban and rural contexts. In recent years, work in this programme area focuses on transnational activism, as global campaigns and movements increasingly combine their advocacy campaigns with distinct alternative proposals and seek to influence the policy process. In particular, the following aspects are being investigated:
- Transnational activism
- Civil society engagement with the policy process
- “Uncivil” movements
- “Old” and “new” movements in comparative perspective
- Social movements and inequality
- Youth and social movements
Research projects in this Programme Area are listed on the right.