Applied solidarity in times of crisis: exploring the contexts of civil society activities in Greece and Germany

Lía Durán Mogollón, Olga Eisele, Maria Paschou

The European ‘crisis decade’ triggered discussions about solidarity and it´s limits; at the policy level, the debates were mostly about determining the deservingness of solidarity of each vulnerable group, and at the street level, actors involved saw the demand for concrete service provision grow while their resources stayed the same or retrenched. This paper is interested in the limits of solidarity precisely at the street level; hence we investigate what combinations of operational conditions (budget, status, volunteers) lead the civil society organizations to engage in more solidarity activities (service provision and advocacy). Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are, beside the state and the family, a vital provider of solidarity services and a significant actor in advocacy for vulnerable groups. As any organization, CSOs are rationalised structures that pursue a concrete goal and for this purpose, rely on different resources and strategies. The paper, therefore, investigates configurations of operational conditions that account for higher levels of solidarity activities by CSOs in Germany and Greece. These countries have both experienced an increase in the demand of social services while they present different civil society traditions, different welfare systems and have been differently affected by crises. While Germany was less dramatically affected by the financial crisis and voluntarily took in almost a million refugees in 2016, Greece was severely hit by the financial crisis and, located at the EU borderland, has had a different experience with the inflow of migrants and refugees. The analysis builds on a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with CSO representatives of the social sector in the framework of the TransSOL project ( in 2017. We employ a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to understand the necessary and sufficient conditions under which CSOs are more active, looking at their organizational traits and preconditions, their capacities to mobilise volunteers, their status in the community and their cross-sectional coverage of social issues.

Department of Communication
External organisation(s)
University of Crete, Universität Siegen
Acta Politica: international journal of political science
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
504007 Empirical social research
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