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Centre for Social Innovation Studies
In August 2015, the Centre for Civil Society Studies was formally renamed the Centre for Social Innovation Studies. “Social innovation” is a broad concept that incorporates the latest developments in civil society studies. The Centre strives to foster research on civil society in Greater China. Our focus is on assembling basic academic archives to support practitioners, research officers, NGOs, and foundations in gaining a comprehensive and systematic understanding of civil society in the context of Chinese society. Three databases have been established by the Centre, namely, the NGO Archive, the Collective Action Database, and the Giving and Civic Awareness Database.
Director: Prof. Chris King-chi CHAN
Honorary Research Fellow Dr. Kin-man CHAN
Tel.: (852) 3943 1337
Fax: (852) 3942 0937
Email: csis@cuhk.edu.hk
NGO Archive
Many grassroots organizations in mainland China face numerous obstacles, including an uncertain institutional environment, difficulties in fundraising, problems with obtaining a legal identity, and more. Academics have not systematically explored or paid sufficient attention to these unfavourable conditions. In view of this, the Centre undertook a reasonably large-scale quantitative and qualitative study between 2008 and 2012. We collaborated with Tsinghua University, Sun Yat-sen University, and the NGOCN to collect information from around 260 grassroots organizations in mainland China to develop our NGO Archive in support of this research agenda.
Collective Action Database
The Centre has documented incidents of collective violence and resistance between 2008 and 2010 from records from the mass media, the Internet, and other sources. The locality, nature of the action, issue(s) at stake, framing of the action, number of participants involved, resources involved, official response, resolution of the conflict, and its impact were coded and assembled to form our database, serving to support research on civil society collective action in Chinese communities.
Giving and Civic Awareness Database
Public opinion polls were conducted through telephone interviews in five major cities in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (namely, Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Taipei, and Hong Kong) to collect the public’s opinions on giving to charity, volunteering, involvement in civic organizations and civil society, the level of development of civic consciousness, and other issues. Such information provides an important foundation for comparative research on the development of civil society across Chinese societies.
Evaluation Research and Advisory Service
The Centre provides research and advisory services for civil society intermediary organizations and NGOs in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao. Thus, through professional research and advisory services, we are supporting the development of civil society in the Greater China region.
The Centre has been conducting evaluation research and consultancy work for various government departments, foundations, and non-profit organizations in mainland China since 2008. Such work has included the “Wenchuan Earthquake Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Report”, the “One Foundation Canonical Project Philanthropy Award Evaluation”, the “Global Greengrants Fund China Projects Evaluation”, the “Consultancy on Charity Development Evaluation Projects in Chinese Cities”, and more. These evaluation and consultancy projects have supported the strategic thinking of stakeholders from different domains of civil society in China, which has helped to promote the collaborative development of civil societies.
In Hong Kong, the Centre has similarly participated in academic research and consultancy projects on issues relating to the development of civil society. In the process, we have explored various tools for evaluating the effectiveness of such tools and their scope of application. The Centre joined the CUHK consultancy team in advising the Social Enterprise Advisory Committee under the Hong Kong government’s Home Affairs Bureau. We helped the Committee investigate the past experiences and future direction of the development of social enterprises in Hong Kong.
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