How the State Shapes Social Movements
This session is the culmination of a five-year team project funded by major grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. We explore the changing relationship between the state and civil society by documenting how state funding for social movements differs across movements, regions, and time periods. Public funding in Canada has enabled a thriving social movement sector to emerge, but recent government policy changes have brought the sustainability of social movements to the forefront of public debate. Some organizations have struggled under these conditions while others have thrived because of innovations in leadership, governance, fundraising and community outreach.
This session will highlight the primary deliverable for this project: a digital public database that lists state grants to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) since 1960. The database/website will be a valuable resource for scholars and community organizations. Scholars can use the database to produce studies on government priorities in social policy; how changes in government structure and ideology affect policy; comparisons between NGOs that use state funding with those that do not; the rise/decline of the voluntary sector; or how funding social movements in Canada differs from other countries. There is no comparable resource in Canada or abroad. This session will also be an opportunity to discuss the innovative methodologies and tools that made this project possible, including a process for digitizing/processing records and a unique database design that facilitated collaboration among a team across the country.