CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

The associative sector in France constitutes a network of mutual acquaintance and aid that is essential in times of crisis. Lockdown, however, has posed an enormous and unprecedented problem for these organizations—whose physical premises tend to be small at best—when it comes to carrying out their missions. Beyond the difficulties they have been facing on a daily basis for several years—such as decreases in and changes to the form of public financing, the loss of subsidized jobs, modifications to their relationship with the public authorities due to the NOTRe law, and changes to governance—lockdown has brought additional challenges, both at the national and regional levels, and for large and small organizations alike.
The thoughts that follow will likely need to be qualified depending on the regional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, we felt it important to draw up an overview of associations’ situation in the early days of lockdown as soon as possible, because the questions raised here foreshadow certain developments that are to come in the months and years ahead. The conclusions drawn here are thus incomplete, biased, and dated, and later approaches that rely on a more scientific methodology will no doubt follow. However, this article lays the groundwork and highlights the experience of associations during lockdown.
This overview was developed as part of a study of French associations and foundations on behalf of the EU–Russia Civil Society Forum, a network of European nongovernmental organizations that publishes a yearly report on several European Union countries, plus a chapter on emerging nonprofit organizations in Russia…

Édith Archambault
Professor emerita at the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and vice president of ADDES.
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