Monthly Archives: June 2016

New Regional Network and Affinity Group Meetings

New Regional Network

Members of ISTR’s regional networks will meet on Thursday at 6:15pm.  Just announced is a meeting of those who wish to consider the formation of a new regional network group focused on Russia, Central Asia and the other former Soviet republics beyond the EU’s eastern borders.

To gauge interest, the organizers will convene an exploratory meeting of researchers with interests in this region. The meeting will be held concurrent with the other regional network meetings on Thursday, 6:15 pm, in the Aulan room on Campus Ersta.

Many scholars working on Central and Eastern Europe may well feel at home in the Europe regional network at this point, but would also be welcome to help discuss common issues and the proper boundaries of a potential new regional interest group.

The other existing Regional Networks and PhD Seminar alumni will meet at the same time – Thursday at 6:15pm – on Campus Ersta:

  •  Africa (Sal 2)
  • Asia Pacific (Sal 1)
  • Europe (Stora Salen)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean (Sal 4)
  • PhD Seminar Alumni (Sal 3)

New Affinity Group on Research on Volunteering

This year the ISTR Conference will convene the first meeting of the new affinity group for those with an interest in research on volunteering.  The affinity group is open and free for anyone to join who is interested in networking with a community of academics and practitioners advancing the field of research on volunteering.  The group will meet on Friday at 12:30 at the Ersta Conference Center in Clara Eckerstromstromsalen.

The formation of this affinity group results from an increasing interest in the distinctive features of research on volunteering, an increased awareness that there is a benefit in connecting the diverse research components in the field, and an increased awareness that stronger efforts must be made to build connections among those carrying out this type of research in all regions of the globe.  A major factor underpinning this interest results from the adoption in September of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which recognizes the important role of volunteers in the achievement of the goals and the publication in June of a report by the United Nations Secretary General on Integrating Volunteering in the Next Decade, which calls for increased research and policy action on volunteering.

The other existing affinity groups on Gender and Law and Regulation will meet at 12:30 at the Ersta Conference Center in Norrbysalen and the Biblioteket, respectively.

A very warm welcome to Ersta Sköndal University College and the 12th ISTR Conference

In this final blog post from ESUC we wish to make two observations: one of a rather practical nature regarding the practical arrangements for the conference, and a second one that concerns the current political and social situation in Sweden. However, first and foremost we wish to extend a sincere welcome to all of you.

Victims of success: many participants bring practical challenges

As local hosts we started this journey two and a half years ago. Since then we have managed to raise the necessary resources as well as enlisted the help of many volunteers, to whom we are extremely grateful. However, what we did not fully anticipate is that we would have more participants than ever before at an ISTR conference. We are proud and very happy about this level of interest and enthusiasm. However, because of the limited campus space at our disposal we have, in close cooperation with the ISTR board and staff, been forced to come up with creative solutions to a number of logistical challenges. We hope everything will work smoothly, but in case of occasional problems we kindly ask for your forbearance and good cheer.

These four days in Stockholm will be very intensive, filled with many academic events along with two receptions and surely many more informal occasions for networking and socializing. We are looking forward to all this and we hope you will enjoy it immensely as well.

 The Refugees Crisis and the Role of Civil Society

Finally a few words about the current socio-political situation here in Sweden. Stockholm, along with the rest of Sweden, is presently struggling with issues related to the recent extensive wave of refugees fleeing the war in Syria as well as difficult conditions in other countries around the world. Sweden has also received a large number of migrants from within the EU, many of whom lack both work and housing. While many think and hope that this will be good for Sweden in the long-term, the immediate difficulties are considerable and entail huge challenges to local governments in charge of providing schooling, healthcare, and social services. Even a well-developed welfare state such as the Swedish one cannot handle this situation without the manifold support of organized civil society as well as the more informal engagement by citizens in a variety of ways.

Given this situation, let us keep in mind that we, as engaged citizens but also as critical social scientists, have a special role and an important responsibility to contribute to a credible, long-term and sustainable policy with respect to the possible role of civil society in a crisis like this. This is not the occasion, we would argue, to simply celebrate civil society and “third sector” initiatives; it is equally important to maintain a critical stance and consider equally the limits as well as the potentials for civil society to play a part alongside public sector and for-profit actors. At the Institute for Civil Society Studies we have always worked with these critical points in mind. Here the long-standing Nordic tradition to foster collaboration between state and civil society might well be an advantage for society as a whole.

But now at last, we are very happy to see you here in Stockholm and you are most welcome!

Lars Svedberg & Lars Trägårdh


Travel options from Arlanda airport & ISTR discounts

For those ISTR Conference participants flying into Arlanda airport in Stockholm, we remind you that ISTR has negotiated discounts on the Arlanda Express train. Even with the discount, this option is pricey, but it is fast if you need to get downtown in a hurry.  You will need to book your ticket in advance to obtain this discount. The train departs from the lower level of each airport terminal every  15 minutes and arrives at Stockholm Central Station in 20 minutes

 Please use online code ISTR2016 when booking your Arlanda Express ticket at, to receive a 15% discount. This code is applicable towards travel dates between 23-June-2016 and 6-July, 2016

Other methods of getting to and from the airport: 

1. Express Buses – Flygbussarna runs buses frequently to and from the City Terminal, just next to the Central Station Swebus – runs buses to and from the City Terminal, 1-4 times/hour Mon-Fri,  1-2 times/hour on Sat-Sun.

2. Taxis –  A number of taxi companies operate in Stockholma taxi ride to central Stockholm  takes approximately 40 minutes. The Swedish taxi industry has been deregulated. Some companies have fixed prices but they can vary depending on the time of day and if it is the  weekend. For this reason, it is recommended that you confirm the taxi fare before setting off.   Credit cards are usually accepted.

Taxi Stockholm Ph: +46 08 15 00 00

Flygtaxi (Airport taxi) Ph: +46 08 120 920 00

           Taxi 020 Ph: + 46 0 20 20 20 20

You may also request transportation via an “Uber” taxi by downloading the Uber Application on your mobile phone.

4. Regular Rail – Regular trains serve the airport through a third station, Arlanda Central, located  under Sky City between terminal 4 and 5.

Safe travels and see you soon!






The following is a guest post from Therese Ydremark, a PhD student at Ersta Sköndal University College, who will be volunteering during the upcoming conference.

Therese-Ydremark2What could be a better start for a PhD student focusing on civil society issues than attending ISTR’s International Conference? We are a group of PhD students at Ersta Sköndal University College that will do so by volunteering. We are all in the process of shaping our subjects and most probably the conference will be a great source of inspiration. So, besides receiving the attendees, preparing the venue etc, we also hope to meet with prominent scholars from all over the world, to get new insights into how to use the theoretical approaches not familiar enough yet and, of course, to get to know fellow PhD students.

And we are not the only ones looking forward to ISTR´s 12th International Conference. One of the previous blog posts gave an idea of the interest from parts of Swedish civil society. There is a strong tradition of extensive contacts between civil society organizations and the Swedish academia focusing on civil society issues. But now it´s time to let us all be inspired by the rest of the world!

I also started out as a `practitioner´ on my way into academia, curiosity has made me move between the two worlds. Always the same procedure; observing a phenomenon and then letting curiosity lead the way to further studies. Now, as a PhD student, what fascinates me is the development and expansion of the Swedish civil society as a consequence of a more heterogeneous society. Migration, of course, is one reason to the increased heterogeneity. My interest has now turned to the role of civil society organizations for political participation in the wake of migration.

When it comes to the conference there is one scholar of particular interest to me. Theda Skocpol was one of the scholars I first read as a student of political science and international relations and I found her theories on social revolutions fascinating. Later on, studying at the master´s level, there she was again, with a focus on institutions, democracy and civil society. And now, as a PhD student, I read her analysis of the American welfare state, as a contrast to the Swedish welfare state. Do I need to say that I´m thrilled she is one of the Keynote Speakers at the conference?

Therese Ydremark, PhD student at Ersta Sköndal University College

Have you sent your paper to your moderator?

Today is the date authors are asked to submit their papers to their session moderators.  This is so that they will have ample time to review your research and develop relevant discussion questions for the session.

As a reminder, please send your papers directly to your moderators.  You can find their contact information in the ISTR database.

Directions to the Conference Venues

Directions and public transit information for the ISTR conference venues has been posted on the conference website.  We recommend you print these directions and bring them with you.  While you are at it, why not download the conference app and have all of this information at your fingertips when you arrive in Stockholm?

As a reminder, all of the papers, panels, and poster sessions will be held at the Ersta Skondal University College and Conference Center.  Conference Registration opens 10:00am at the Ersta Conference Center (tent).

Address for Ersta Conference Center: Erstagatan 1 K

That evening, the welcome reception will take place at Stockholm City Hall.  RSVPs have been previously requested of participants.  Your invitation for this event will be provided to you when you register earlier that day.

Address: Hantverkargatan 1

Wednesday morning the conference will kick off at the Rival Hotel.  Registration will open at 8:00am for the 9:00am session.

That afternoon sessions will resume at Ersta Skondal University College and Conference Center.




Get the ISTR Conference App!


The ISTR Conference is mobile with an event app for your smart phone or tablet!

Download the app at: on an iPhone, iPad or Android device (not a desktop or laptop). You will be taken to the correct app store. The url is case sensitive.

• Find sessions by theme, speakers and day
• Access addresses and maps at your fingertips
• Find restaurants in Stockholm
• Follow the event on twitter at #ISTR2016
• Plan your own schedule
• Catch notifications during the conference
• Enjoy!