PDW 02: Challenges to Multidisciplinary Research at the Borderlands between State, Market and Civil Society

Filip Wijkström
Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden
Gorgi Krlev
University of Heidelberg, Germany
Liesbet Heyse
University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Call for Applications


Michael Meyer, WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria
Marta Reuter, Stockholm University & Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden
Damien Mourey, Sorbonne Graduate Business School, Paris, France [tentative]
Liv Egholm, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark [tentative]

Contents & Purpose

Civil society studies are characterized by an “in-betweenness”, a positioning at “double borderlands”. Civil society is studied in connection with government and public sector or state actors in areas such as public-private innovation, participatory government or citizen activism. Civil society is also studied in relation to markets or the business sphere when it comes to corporate political activism or social entrepreneurship.
In this PDW, we aim to explore how these double borderlands are dealt with against a variety of disciplines and theoretical approaches. We invite in particular early career scholars to participate and want to help them advance their own research and projects in these areas.
Borderland studies of civil society (including associated forms of organizations, movements and groups) are situated across: political science and public administration, economics, sociology, organization and management studies, theology, history and philosophy. On the one hand, this variety of academic approaches results in an inspiring diversity with great potential for innovation. On the other hand, it may however also lead to unproductive fragmentation, confusing, contradictory terminology and lack of conceptual clarity leading that hinder the necessary accumulation of knowledge.
This PDW will assist early career scholars by enabling them to:

  • get an overview of key concepts and perspectives embedded in the various disciplinary approaches found in contemporary research;

  • identify the main differences between the different approaches and discuss the strengths or weaknesses associated with them;

  • develop strategies to deal with the different disciplinary theoretical perspectives in the existing literature related to their own work (content-wise but also related to publication strategies).



The format will follow the submitted contributions:

  • For a selected group of participants (at max. 14) who have submitted own work – see Option 1 below – we aim for cross-disciplinary reading of and commentary on each others texts, as a way to help advance these papers and move them towards publication.

  • With those who have submitted a note on multidisciplinary challenges – see Option 2 below – we will convene a set of discussions facilitated by a select group of more senior scholars with mixed disciplinary backgrounds. The aim is to assist early career scholars in developing a broad understanding of the challenges and opportunities of “borderland” studies in terms of theory as well as methodology.

The participants will also be supported in their work on their projects by literature advice based on the new [3rd edition] of the Nonprofit Sector Research Handbook, available from Stanford University Press as of April 2020.



Please submit – via the EGOS website – by May 15, 2020 (extended deadline) a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes …

  • either – Option 1: a short paper or description intended for distribution among the other participants of a planned or on-going research project of their own on a civil society topic that is studied from different disciplinary perspectives (ca. 5 pages, but full manuscripts are also welcome);

  • or – Option 2: a description of some of the multidisciplinary challenges they are experiencing in their own work, ending with some key questions to be addressed and dealt with in the sessions (ca. 2–3 pages).

Filip Wijkström is an Associate Professor at the Department of Management & Organization and director of Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. His research interests concern CSOs in different fields of society and governance and strategy.
Gorgi Krlev is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Social Investment (CSI) at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Currently, his main research subjects are organizational hybridity, social innovation, and impact. Gorgi co-authored and edited “Social Innovation: Comparative Perspectives”, which won the “Best Book 2019” Award of the Academy of Management’s (AOM) Public and Nonprofit Division.
Liesbet Heyse is an Assistant Professor in Organization Sociology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. With a background in organization sociology and public administration, she studies how public, nonprofit and private organizations – individually or in collaboration – attempt to contribute to the common good.