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Civil society and communities

Civil society and communities

Seeking to understand and to analyse civil societies and the communities that it comprises.

A major project, Social and Economic Change and the Local and Regional Landscapes of Civil Society, is being led by Professor Ian Rees-Jones in collaboration with Aberystwyth, Swansea and the University of South Wales, to understand the changing nature of civil society in the context of devolved governments.

A collaboration with Cardiff's School of Computer Science and Informatics, the 'Collaborative Online Social Media Observatory' (COSMOS) is a £500k joint investment by ESRC and JISC, bringing together sociologists and computer scientists to engage with the methodological, theoretical and policy dimensions of 'big social data'. Projects include co-funding with Google, National Centre for Research Methods and the Department of Health. COSMOS has also been selected as a key case-study by the Office for National Statistics as an Application Programming Interface.

Communities need to be able to sustain themselves, both in terms of access to food and in planning cities and conurbations, particularly in the face of climate change. Researchers in the School of Geography and Planning have developed a tool that blends spatial analysis with economics, to help governments to better plan cities and urban design schemes. The School also considers anti-poverty and agri-food strategies: its research has been used in negotiations between the Welsh Government and the European Commission.

Expertise from our Law School has helped to improve the framework by which society is governed, both in the UK and overseas. Input has included advising the Council of Europe on the rights and legal status of children, providing advice to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the country's European Union presidency, and advising the European Parliament on the enforcement of EU obligations.

Our legal expertise has been cited in the US and New Zealand Supreme Courts, by the European Court of Justice and the UK Supreme Court. We are a partner in the Centre for Excellence in Family Law through participation in the Network on Family, Regulation and Society which holds a £1m+ Leverhulme International Network grant.

We explore the ways in which communities communicate with each other and the role that religion and the media plays in this interaction.

The Centre for Digital Media and Society explores the power of social media to both disrupt and strengthen existing communicative practices and social relations. Current research looks at digital journalism, hacktivism, digital protect and democracy and participation. Interest in community journalism led to the development of the Centre for Community Journalism, a fusion of research and practice.

The Centre for the Study of Islam explores the lives of Muslim communities in Britain, attracting over £1 million from the Jameel Scholarship Programme to support doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. Law School research has led to the identification of a need for an Anglican Communion Covenant and Professor Norman Doe has undertaken both the drafting and advocacy of these documents.