The European Civic Forum (ECF) cordially invites you to the networking cocktail for the release of a new issue of Activizenship. Since 2014, the magazine aim is to explore the potential of forms of civic, social and political activism to contribute to renewing, rethinking and reshaping citizenship and democracy. It also attempts to capture current trends and transformations affecting civil society environment in Europe and worldwide, connect ideas and experiences about changing the world from grassroots up.
Today, civil society is more and more misunderstood and misrepresented, as are the values and principles it embodies and defends. Stigmatising legislation, smear campaigns, and downgrading of social and civil rights contribute to restricting the space of civil society to operate and voice opinions in ways that are more and more complex to capture. These challenges expose some of the long-standing weaknesses of civil society, but can also contribute to reinforcing its strengths. They trigger discussions on the role and legitimacy of civic actors.
Nevertheless, civil society is not homogeneous nor static. Its capacities and structures are crucially linked to the historical path each culture and society went through and, even within the same cultural space, civil society is animated by entities that are very different for structures and modus operandi. Civil society as a concept is undergoing a transformation globally, and new ways for citizens to associate are emerging alongside traditional ones. Civil society is also expanding and pushing back to reclaim old spaces and conquer new ones.
Drawing on the experience of one year of Civic Space Watch, the new issue of Activizenship poses some burning questions. What are the new and old challenges of civil society in Europe? How is civil society changing? How is it pushing back against democratic backsliding?
We very much hope you can join us. Please confirm your participation as soon as possible by registering here. For more information about the work of the European Civic Forum please visit civic-forum.eu or follow us on Twitter @ForCivicEU.