Since the field is interdisciplinary in nature, we focus on a wide range of topics. Some key themes:
Donorship and Donation are of pivotal importance to much of the work that goes on in the nonprofit sector. Individual donorship, the activity of private, corporate and community foundations, the role played by major philanthropists and their legitimacy, and critical analyses—these are all topics of interest in our department.
The Theatre of the Oppressed is based upon participant-created performances in which the actors make use of their own life experiences. It offers a framework for thinking about how repression may be opposed, as well as how specific situations may be resolved.
Volunteerism is at the heart of civil society in many ways. Not without reason is the sector sometimes referred to as the “volunteer sector”. Together, we inquire into the nature of volunteerism and examine the forms it takes in civil society both at home in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Commercialization, Professionalization, Hybridization. Any change to the national or international environment impacts upon Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and one of the most significant trends of late has been the professionalization and commercialization of CSOs. It has brought both fresh opportunities and certain dilemmas. For instance: do professionalization and commercialization constitute suitable strategies for long-term sustainability in the civil sector? How can professionalization and commercialization be carried out in a way that CSOs do not become elite organizations that are exclusive in nature? Are volunteer CSOs endangered by the ethical and moral challenges to volunteerism their professionalization and commercialization bring?
Civil Sector Law
The Social Economy and Social Enterprise. The work we do on this topic area has resulted in projects supported by the Czech Science Foundation, the City of Prague, and in research carried out under the auspices of Charles University and FH ChU. For some years now, students have undertaken studies of Czech social enterprises for publication, and in 2013, the department was coinvestigator in the International Comparative Social Enterprise Models Project (ICSEM), an international EMES project involving 200 researchers from 50 countries around the globe.
Social Movements and Political Activism give expression to attempts by citizens to implement their political or value preferences in various areas of life: social, environmental, cultural, and others. Together with formal political acts such as taking part in elections, these represent one of the three key functions of civil society—defending the values and interests of citizens as they relate to political and economic elites (the state and the market).
Social Exclusion Social exclusion is a key topic at the department. The reason is that many nongovernmental nonprofit organizations implement projects that concern this theme. The department has situated itself within the topic area by creating specialist studies that allow a better grasp of social exclusion themes and propose measures to be taken. Social exclusion is currently highly discussed, and this presents an opportunity for interconnections between academics and the nonprofit sector, having the added benefit of reinforcing social cohesion within society as a whole. Social exclusion is also in evidence as a crosscutting theme that appears throughout the studies undertaken by the department.
Social Responsibility We work together with a number of organizations to implement themes connected to social responsibility. They include Romea, o.s., ARA Art, People in Need, NROS, Sanek Ponte, Amnesty International, Vteřina Poté and Národní Dobrovolnické Centrum HESTIA. We monitor information provided by the Czech Fundraising Center and other organizations.