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INTRAC was one of six civil society support organisations involved in Civil Society at a Crossroads, a collective reflection process about the future of civil society around the world, between 2011 and 2013.

In the face of economic recession in Europe and North America, rapid economic growth in Asia, and the capture of democratic politics by wealth and business interests in many countries, this initiative sought to explore the implications for civil society worldwide.

From the very beginning, three premises guided the work of the group:

  • The shifting roles and challenges of civil society needed to be captured through a series of stories;
  • Inclusion of civil society in Europe and North America was as important as civil society in the southern countries;
  • The process of enquiry had to combine data collection, systematisation and reflection with key actors in those stories.

This project captured stories and reflections from countries as diverse as Chile, Zimbabwe and Ireland. These included insider accounts of citizen movements in Europe such as Occupy St Paul’s in the UK and neighbourhood assemblies in Greece; analysis of the new social movements in South America campaigning for LGBT rights, the legalisation of abortion and improvements in higher education; and reflections on the changing roles of civil society in emerging economies such as India, Cambodia and South Africa.

In November 2011, INTRAC’s 20th Anniversary Conference was organised around the Crossroads theme. Read the background paper and the conference report.