Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Researching Civic Participation in Wales, in place and over time

Work Package 1.1

Funder: ESRC

Start date: October 2014

End date: September 2017 

Research team

Prof Howard Davis (Bangor University)
Dr Robin Mann (Bangor University)
Dr Marta Eichsteller (Bangor University) 
David Dallimore (Bangor University) 


This project will examine experiences of participation at the local level and what they tell us about the changing patterns of mobilisation in particular places in Wales. Fieldwork will take place in North and South Wales in three stages. 1. Mapping local level civil society groups. 2. Life history/narrative interviews, which will capture experiences and biographies of key individuals who run local associations and who work to involve others. 3. Participant observation of activities at each site. We will pay particular attention to trust in social organisations, and how social identities and inequalities shape local civic relations. 

The team will conduct 30 individual interviews and 4 focus groups. Data collection will take place at two contrasting locations: one in the largely rural and Welsh speaking area of North West Wales, the other in industrial South Wales. One site will be a relatively prosperous and socioeconomically advantaged town whilst the second will be a town which has experienced high levels of social and economic deprivation. 

Research Questions

  • What kinds of local civil society activities exist and what are their social and demographic determinants? - How do civil society actors and organisations relate to communities experiencing structural inequalities?
  • Why are some types of activity flourishing and others in decline? Do such types have discernible pathways - such as under threat or thriving?
  • What has happened to those groups less suited to the contemporary period? Have these been replaced by others?


  • A monograph on locality, community and civil society to be published with Routledge;
  • Four articles in international journals including Sociology, British Journal of Sociology, Critical Social Policy, Journal of Rural Studies. 
  • The research will also be dissemination via one UK and one International conference: the 2017 British Sociological Association Conference. And the ISA World Forum of Sociology 2016 (Venue tbc). 
  • The project and its findings will also be presented annually at WISERD conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  • Interim and emergent findings will be published via the WISERD website in the form of working papers and methods briefings
  • A policy briefing document
  • A presentation to the Welsh Assembly Government and other policy makers via an evidence symposia event on the meanings of participation
  • A workshop at Bangor University involving research participants, researchers, stakeholders and students




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