Contemporary conceptions of civil society were developed around the resistance in Poland and Eastern Europe to the Soviet occupation of their countries, and played a key intellectual role in the fall of the Soviet Union. We believe that there are strong grounds for seeing the rebuilding of civil society - community organizations / non-profits / voluntary associations / the third sector - as the basis for other richer and more authentic options than the dichotomy between the market and the state allows. We are dedicated, therefore, to the renewal of civil society.
We seek to play a part in opening such possibilities for renewal. The Institute was formed out of an initial interest in research and education in regional history and historical gis in the Maritimes, but has developed interests in the economics of non-profits and community banks, rural sustainability, community health, and urban development, and the law and jurisprudence of civil society. Our objects, therefore, include scholarly and policy research, education, and social infrastructure. And doing so by collaborating with other community organizations, academies, and civil society champions to achieve these aims.