Civil Society

Civil Society

3.52 (53 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this book which provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of one of the most important debates of our times, Michael Edwards asks whether 'civil society' is the big idea for the 21st century. This title asks whether 'civil society' is the big idea for the 21st century. It provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of one of the most important debates of our times. It explores theories of associational life, the good society and the public sphere, and clarifies their implications for policy and practice. It draws inspiration and examples from history and contemporary experience, Islam and Christianity, South and North, and activists and academics.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 152 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 16mm | 358.34g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0745631320
  • 9780745631325
  • 2,185,905

Review quote

"This is a gem of a book on a massive topic. At barely 50,000 words it can - and should - be read in a day or so, yet it manages to address lucidly and humorously some of the most urgent and compelling issues of the day ... His essay is at once analytically acute and inspirational." --Times Higher Education Supplement "The best public social science is often created by publicly engaged intellectuals and scholars ... A case in point is Michael Edwards, whose new book, Civil Society ... is rich with examples and case studies" --Harry Boyte, Civic Engagement News "Mike Edwards is one of the few writers who can bridge the divide between theoretical, empirical and practical concerns ... "Civil Society" is essentialreading for anyone interested in creating a better world through citizen action." --Alliance Magazine "Drawing insights from history, philosophy, economics, and politics ... Edwards peels back the layers of logic , assumption, and fact to offer a clear-eyed assessment of civil society's contribution to society at large." --Democracy & Society "Essential reading for understanding the idea of civil society. --Voluntas "Combining lucid presentation with thought provoking and coherent theoretical arguments, Edwards establishes a connecting thread between chapters. The wide survey of literature and analysis of the nature and functioning of civil society makes it a comprehensive companion useful for academia and activists with an interest in the field." --Asian Journal of Social Science "The virtue of Edwards' book is that he approaches civil society from the perspective of how to make it more effective in securing its objectives." --Australian Review of Public Affairs "Civil Society is a book that should be distributed to students, practitioners, funding agencies, politicians, and everyone engaged in the promotion of "democratization." It is a primer that we all need, one that enables us to reengage the deepest questions: how people can have a meaningful stake in the direction of their lives, why the health of society demands that they do have a stake, and who speaks for you (and) me." "Sometimes big things do come in small packages. Michael Edwards's Civil Society fits that description precisely...this compact volume helps the reader understand what "civil society" is, where the concept came from, and why it is significant in today's globalized socioeconomic-political environment. Most important, Edwards raises questions about popular assumptions, even those long held and often articulated by experts on and advocates for civil society." --The International Center for Not for Profit Law "Readable and finely nuanced." --Open Democracy "[T]his ambitious and compact book provides a very useful summary of the ongoing civil society debate and will appeal to a broad audience motivated to contribute in some way or another to 'positive social change." --Development and Changeshow more

Back cover copy

Is civil society the big idea for the 21st century? Or will the idea of civil society - confused, conflated and co-opted by elites - prove another false horizon in the search for a better world? By illuminating the uses and abuses of different theories and traditions in clear and engaging prose, this book will help readers of all persuasions to answer this question for themselves. Drawing inspiration and examples from history and contemporary experience, Islam and Christianity, South and North, and activists and academics, this book gives voice to a rich and diverse account of civil society in its many different guises. In moving systematically through theories of associational life, the good society and the public sphere, exploring the neglected connections that exist between them, and clarifying their implications for policy and practice, Michael Edwards provides a comprehensive, accessible and often humorous overview of one of the most important debates of our times. This book will be essential reading for students of politics, public policy, development studies and international relations. It will also be read by all those interested in the role of civil society in the media, policy-making and NGO communities.show more

About Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is Director of the Ford Foundation's Governance and Civil Society Program.show more

Table of contents

Preface.Acknowledgements.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 - Unraveling the civil society puzzle.6. Conclusion - so what's to be done?.Notes.References and Bibliography.Indexshow more

Rating details

53 ratings
3.52 out of 5 stars
5 15% (8)
4 36% (19)
3 36% (19)
2 13% (7)
1 0% (0)
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