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Civil Society, 3rd Edition



Civil Society, 3rd Edition

Michael Edwards

ISBN: 978-0-745-67936-5 May 2014 Polity 192 Pages

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Civil Society has become a standard work of reference for those who seek to understand the role of voluntary citizen action. Recent global unrest has shown the importance of social movements and street protests in world politics. However, as this lucid book shows, the power that people have to shape their societies is usually channeled through day-to-day participation in voluntary associations and communities: expressions of “normal” civic life beyond the headlines. This is the underlying story of civil society. This new edition explores issues that have developed rapidly in recent years, including the overlaps between civil society and the market in the form of social enterprises and “venture philanthropy,” and the increasing role of social media and information and communication technologies in civic interaction. Different varieties of civil society in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere are investigated in more detail, and case studies, data, and references have been updated throughout. Colleges, foundations and NGOs, policy-makers, journalists and commissions of inquiry Ð all have used Edwards’s book to understand and strengthen the vital role that civil society can play in deepening democracy, re-building community, and addressing inequality and injustice. This new edition will be required reading for anyone who is interested in creating a better world through voluntary citizen action.



1 Introduction Ð What’s the Big Idea?

2 Civil Society as Associational Life

3 Civil Society as the Good Society

4 Civil Society as the Public Sphere

5 Synthesis Ð Unraveling the Civil Society Puzzle

6 So What’s to be Done?


References and Bibliography

"It is hard to find a book on civil society which is very optimistic and at the same time discusses the consequences of too much dependence on it to solve our problems... I strongly recommendthe book to scholars, practitioners and policy makers interested in understanding the importance of collective actions and the diversity of conceptualizations of civil society"
Community Development Journal

''The idea of civil society is not getting as much attention as it did a decade ago, but Michael Edwards makes a powerful case for why it should and what it has to offer people not only in the West, but throughout the world. A must-read for any student of the subject.''
Leslie Lenkowsky, Indiana University

''Now in its third edition, Michael Edwards’ book is still the best survey of the potential contributions of civil society to better societies and governments. Edwards combines optimism with a realism based in close attention to the many changing ways people combine their energies, skills, and intelligence for collective purposes. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the relationships between civil society, social change, and democracy.''
Mark E. Warren, University of British Columbia