Intermediary Structures

Symposium in Belgium

Intermediary Structures and Democracy: An Historical Approach
Leuven / Brussel, 28-29 November 2003

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ODIS, or the Documentation and Research Unit for the Study of Intermediary Social Structures in Flanders (19th and 20th Centuries), is a scholarly project funded by the Flemish Foundation for Scientific and Scholarly Research under the auspices of the Max Wildiers Foundation (FWO-Vlaanderen Max Wildiersfonds). It was set up on 1 January 2000 as an interdisciplinary scholarly forum on the history of Flemish civil society, with the objective to create new and adequate instruments to boost scientific research in this area. ODIS is carried out under the auspices of ADVN, Amsab-Institute for Social History, KADOC-K.U.Leuven and the Liberal Archives. It aims to be a platform for reflection and communication on socio-historical research into civil society. To that end ODIS organises annual workshops, in order to pave the way for renewed interdisciplinary and international comparative research on the subject.

In the last three years ODIS-workshops dealt with the definitory problems surrounding the concept "intermediary structures” (2000), the centralisation and retention of the Flemish-Belgian election results (2001) and the specificity of the so-called new social movements (2002). After focussing this debate mainly within the Flemish scientific community, the ODIS-symposium on 28-29 November 2003 wishes to broaden its perspective. By turning the spotlight on a controversial issue as the relationship between civil society and democracy, ODIS hopes to stimulate new research in this area.


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