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Civil Society

  • By: William N. Holden
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

With the advent of globalization, and the hegemonic dominance of the market-based paradigm of neoliberalism, the term civil society has been increasingly popular, particularly in discussions of sustainability and social change in the developing world. Civil society refers to the sector of society existing separate and apart from the state while lying between the state and the individual, or family. Civil society consists of voluntary, or nonmarket, organizations; accordingly, corporations are not part of civil society. The term does not include political parties, which are more closely tied to attempts to influence the state. A variety of organizations, some as seemingly mundane as sport clubs and social associations, constitute civil society; the two most notable and important types are grassroots (or “people's”) organizations and nongovernmental ...

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