CSD’s Sociological Program started its activities in 1989. Its main goal has been to apply its sociological expertise in researching various aspects of democratic transition and governance in Bulgaria, as well as to strengthen democratic values and have an impact on the development of civil society in the country. In keeping with CSD’s mission, the Sociological Program is not solely focused on theoretical and empirical research and analysis, but is also driven by the conviction that sociological expertise can and should generate positive and practical changes in society.
The launching of the Sociological Program has enabled CSD to establish and maintain good working relationships in the field of public policy research with institutions such as the UN, UNDP, UNICEF, the European Commission, the World Bank, USAID, Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, Gallup Europe, the BBC World Service, and many others.
In the 1995-2008 period the Sociological Program operated within the framework of the activities of the Vitosha Research agency for conducting social, political, economic, marketing and media surveys. Since mid-2009, the Sociological Program has resumed its activity as a separate unit within the Center for the Study of Democracy . The program priorities have been reoriented towards developing and implementing research projects of a more academic nature in key areas of socio-economic life, both at the national and European levels. In this context, the Sociological Program has emphasized the following priorities in its recent activities:
Evaluation of public policies and programmes: Development of methodologies and indicators for monitoring and evaluating policies and programs in several key areas of socio-economic life: justice and home affairs, public procurement, tenders for EU structural funds, etc.
Policies for the integration of immigrants and refugees: The Sociological Program conducts projects relating to various aspects of national as well as international policies for the integration of immigrants and refugees.
The Sociological Program has been developing its expert capacity in the following areas as well:
- Monitoring and evaluation of the levels of corruption and hidden economy;
- Victimization and criminological studies;
- Advocating civic activism and responsible social policies;
- Promoting human rights and the protection of vulnerable groups;
- Application of foresight methods.