Now in its fourth edition, Civil Society has become a major work of reference for those who seek to understand the role of voluntary citizen action in a troubled world.
Recent economic and political developments do not bode well for the theory and practice of civil society: communities are increasingly divided; inequality is on the rise; authoritarians and populists have gained a foothold even in advanced democracies; restrictions on freedom of speech and association are increasingly common and recent scandals have even reduced trust in charities. Worryingly, public spheres seem incapable of addressing these concerns. Yet, as Michael Edwards makes clear, ideas about the civil sphere can shed much light on what is happening, why, and how we might respond to polarization, privatization, and authoritarians of various stripes.
Fully updated to take account of recent work on digital culture, democracy, and philanthropy, Civil Society will be required reading for anyone who is interested in creating a better world through voluntary citizen action.
1 Introduction – 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 – How Do the Different Models of Civil Society Fit Together?
6 Action – So What’s to be Done?
References and Bibliography