Civil society is the arena created by individual and collective actions, organizations, and institutions to advance shared interests. The concept of ‘shared interests’ can be both for the common good of all society or the benefit of a minority group. History provides examples of social change as people organized movements against perceived injustice, and in favour of new ideas of development. The concept of “civic-driven change” counters an apolitical and technical understanding of development, to address the political barriers that perpetuate poverty and inequality. Civil society is motivated by a pluralistic “idea of justice” that challenges expected roles of governments, corporations and individuals. These roles are undergoing new scrutiny given rising demands for accountability, in which civil society provides part of the checks and balances on political and economic power.
— Suggested Readings
Bebbington, Anthony, Samuel Hickey and Diana Mitlin (eds). (2008). Can NGOs Make a Difference?: The Challenge of Development Alternatives. London: Zed Press.
Edwards, Michael. (2009) Civil Society, 2nd edition. John Wiley & Sons.
Naidoo, Kumi. (1999). Civil Society at the Millennium. Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press.
Nicholas Deakin. (2001). In Search of Civil Society. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Pearce, Jenny and Deborah Eade (eds). (2000). Development, NGOs and Civil Society. Oxford: Oxfam.
Serbín, Andrés. (2007). Paz, conflicto y sociedad civil en América Latina y el Caribe. Barcelona, Spain: Icaria Editorial. (Résumé en français disponible ici)
Taylor, Rupert. (ed). (2004). Creating a Better World: Interpreting Global Civil Society. Bloomfield CT: Kumarian Press.