The Project

The co-operation between local governments and civil society is an important part of modern governance. Numerous factors shape the mode of this co-operation, e.g. the policy field, the power structures, traditions in administration and the engagement of civil society. Lately, the co-operation between the state and social organizations (SOs) received a lot of attention in Germany as well as in China.

In Germany the immigration of refugees from Syria and other war-ridden countries currently poses the biggest challenge for local administration and at the same time leads to an enormous development of action from civil society actors. In China there is a huge immigration of migrant workers moving from rural areas to urban areas in search for better income opportunities. As a result of this immigration the local governments of Chinas growing mega cities face huge challenges in providing social services and integration opportunities for the incoming new populations. Even though migration takes different forms in these two countries and the political and legal preconditions for SOs differ widely, the basic problems for local administration are comparable. To be able to properly compare social services in Germany and China we therefore focus the study on the policy field of ‘migration’.

To even further guarantee comparability this policy field is further confined to social services in the four areas of employment, education, vulnerable groups, and social assistance (incl. legal aid).

The models of co-operation and of participation shall be identified by a qualitative research design which combines three components: a (literature) review of the legal framework of state-SO co-operation and SO participation; a stakeholder analysis of the involved SOs, as well as in-depth interviews with officials of local governments, employees and volunteers of SOs, and the recipients of social services.

The sample cities





The project will concentrate on two cities in each country – one of the biggest cities in each country with an especially high migrant population (China: Guangzhou; Germany: Berlin) and one middle sized city in each country which functions as an economic hub in its region (China: Hangzhou; Germany: Cologne).

It aims to capture the different models of co-operation in Germany and China, to analyze and compare the underlying structures and to show potentialities for development.

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