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Civil society refers to the realm of interaction, institutions, and social cohesion that sustains public life outside the spheres of the state and economy. More generally, civil society is a domain of public participation that is founded upon cooperation, empathy, and reciprocity. In some conceptions, civil society is synonymous with social solidarity or community identity. Other conceptions equate civil society with individual rights and liberties that protect the freedom of the individual and nourish public life. Other conceptions view civil society as a basis for public trust that promotes citizenship and enhances the stability of civic institutions. Still other conceptions emphasize civil society as a complex web of institutions or a dense network of voluntary associations. In short, the notion of civil society is ...

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