Civil Society and Civic Activism in the Pandemic. The Case of Germany

Article, The International Journal of Social Quality
Volume 11: Issue 1-2, open access

Protest action by Fridays for Future Berlin on the Platz der Republik for the global climate strike on April 24, 2020, © Wikimedia Commons

by Susann Worschech
January 14, 2022

Worschech, Susann (2021) The Case of Germany. Civil Society and Civic Activism in the Pandemic, in: The International Journal of Social Quality, 11(1-2), open access, https://doi.org/10.3167/IJSQ.2021.11010211.

Has the pandemic weakened civil society and hindered activism and volunteering due to long-lasting restrictions and bans on meetings, protests, and the like? Or have civil society actors been able to respond to these fundamental changes? This is explored here in the case of Germany. Neither weakness nor strength can be deemed a clear outcome of the pandemic for civil society, but different levels of resilience mark opportunities for civil society to overcome the pandemic. Resilience also affects democracy; therefore, the development of civil society during and after the pandemic is investigated in terms of how it has influenced democracy in Germany. This article is based on findings on civic activism resulting from long-term surveys and volunteering conducted prior to the pandemic, together with present and preliminary observations.

The article can be viewed and downloaded on the page of the publisher Berghahn Journals.


Susann Worschech is a sociologist at the Master for European Studies and a member of the IFES at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). Her research interests include protests, participation, democracy, and political interaction in post-socialist Europe. She is the co-editor of the volume Sociology of Europeanization (De Gruyter Oldenbourg), forthcoming in February 2022.

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