Tracing Processes of Empowerment: Civil Society in European Union Accession


My PhD research seeks to explore the dynamics of differential empowerment of civil society organisations throughout the European Union accession process of three different countries: Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. This case study presents my use of process-tracing as a key method in establishing a link between the usage of European Union-related opportunities and domestic empowerment. It discusses how a combination of different qualitative methods – semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and documentary analysis – can facilitate the filling of evidentiary gaps in a process-tracing approach. Particular attention is given to the treatment of non-linear, protracted or evolving processes. Finally, the case study sheds light on the methodological challenges I faced in applying process-tracing not to a single case, but in a comparative setting.

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