• 26.08.2022 - 27.08.2022
  • 🇩🇰 Dänemark / Copenhagen-Frederiksberg
  • The Nordic Civil Societies project, in connection with the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School
  • zur Website

Bureaucratic Voluntarism: Historical and Sociological Studies on the Organisation of Associational Life in the Nordic Countries and Beyond

The workshop uses bureaucracy as a lens to explore the conformity, consensus, and collaborativeness that are held typical for voluntary associations in the Nordic region.

Associational life in the North is often characterised by a high degree of conformity, consensus, and preparedness to cooperate with state authorities. This has been identified as a Nordic particularity and explained in reference to a political culture rooted in “values” and “traditions” reaching back centuries. The workshop suggests a different approach to the study of voluntary associations by focusing on organisational practices, especially manifestations of bureaucracy like statutes and minute books, annual reports and members’ lists, audits and accounts, seniority and statistics, officers and offices.

Starting from the observation that associations have developed bureaucratic traits to a greater extent than necessary for the mere pursuit of their stated purposes, the workshop asks how bureaucracy affected both the relations between members and the role of associations in society.

The workshop is mainly interested in contributions that shed light on the organisational practices of associations of all kind, from leisure clubs to advocacy groups, social movement associations and trade and industry bodies. Studies may focus on individual clubs and their members at the local level or at larger associations at the regional or (inter)national level, including committees at the interface of the voluntary sector and the state. Papers may present historical or contemporary case studies. We are also open for paper suggestions that approach bureaucracy in civil society or voluntary associations in a theoretical manner.