Civil Society Organizations
What are they and how are they used?
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What is a Civil Society Organization?
Civil society is a sector of society (often a business group) devoid of government interference.
The term is also used to refer to non-governmental organizations that fight for the well-being of citizens.
Where do Civil Society Organizations come from?
The term civil society can be traced back to Aristotles Politics. Here, he refers to political community to mean the Greek city-state which was characterized by shared set of ethos and norms.
The term gained popularity and was revived in 1990s where it was used by Vaclav Havel to denote civic associations that were threatened by state-dominated regimes in Communist Eastern Europe.
Civil society has been applied in the field of social life by activists. They argue that social life needs protection from globalization.
iCSO, Integrated Civil Society Organizations which was the brainchild of Department of Economic and Social Affairs, DESA, was created to enhance communications between civil society organizations and DESA.
References for Civil Society Organizations
Academic Research on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)
- A people-oriented ASEAN: a door ajar or closed for civil society organizations?, Collins, A. (2008). Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs, 30(2), 313-331. This paper observes that in many occasions, ASEAN has hinted about being people-oriented. The phrase people-oriented has also appeared in ASEANs new charter. This phrase has brought ASEAN to the radar of CSOs but CSOs have not been satisfied by the terms of the charter. This paper analyzes the sections that make CSOs disappointed in ASEANs charter.
- Assessing variation in civil society organizations: China's homeowner associations in comparative perspective, Read, B. L. (2008). Comparative Political Studies, 41(9), 1240-1265. There are so many theories of civil societies most of which give a lot of hope to associations in the grassroots. However, there are many instances where these organizations do not live up to the promises of schooling students and other promises made. This article examines different factors that affect properties of grassroots groups clearly highlighting the conflicts between political and legal environment and challenges that occur in the way of shaping civil societies.
- Role of civil society organizations in governance, Ghaus-Pasha, A. (2004, May). In 6th global forum on reinventing government towards participatory and transparent governance (pp. 24-27). This paper analyzes how civil societies affect the way a community is governed and the factors that contribute to better governance. It looks at the roles played by a number of civil societies and instances where there are conflicts between governing bodies and civil societies.
- Civil Society in China: Concepts, Classification and Institutional Environment [J], Keping, Y. (2006). Social Sciences in China, 1, 109-122. This article seeks to elaborate more on civil societies and other bodies independent of the government. It compares and contrasts civil societies, third sector, CSOs, NGOs, institutional environment, Non-profit organizations, intermediate organizations, social and mass groups and peoples groups. It samples groups in China and offers a model for classification of these private organizations.
- Civil society collaboration with business: Bringing empowerment back in, Ashman, D. (2001). World Development, 29(7), 1097-1113. This paper samples 10 cases where CSOs have collaborated with business in Brazil, South Africa and Asia. The study shows that collaboration in and developments impact institutions such as schools and the employment sector. The paper offer suggestions to guide more research on collaborations between these bodies and for better collaborative systems.
- Rethinking civil society, Kopeck, P., & Mudde, C. (2003). Democratization, 10(3), 1-14. This paper observes that most of the studies done on civil societies are normative. It suggests a better way of researching on civil societies by including heuristic devices, separating between civil society and uncivil society, studying the nature of relationships between these societies with democracy and studying uncivil movements in the study of civil society.
- Can civil society organizations solve the crisis of partisan representation in Latin America?, Hochstetler, K., & Friedman, E. J. (2008). Latin American Politics and Society, 50(2), 1-32. This paper looks at the role of civil societies in times of civil crisis. It shows that the degree of crisis will determine how much CSOs can represent partisans in the short term. It also shows that CSOs offer mechanisms through which citizens have the power to influence political outcomes.
- Civil society and democratization in the Arab world, Yom, S. (2005). Middle East, 9(4), 15-32. This paper examines the role of civil society in democracy in the Arab world. It samples different societies and their roles in the democracy experienced or not experienced in the Arab world.
- Managerialism and beyond: Discourses of civil society organization and their governance implications, Maier, F., & Meyer, M. (2011). Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 22(4), 731. This paper observes that there are different discourses experienced civil societies and they contribute to the kaleidoscope picture of governance. It seeks to explain the way these discourses manifold notions in CSOs.
- How civil society organizations close the gap between transparency and accountability, van Zyl, A. (2014). Governance, 27(2), 347-356. This paper seeks to explain the role of CSOs in governance and specifically in enhancing that governments stay accountable and transparent. They help citizens keep track of government spending through tools such as constitutional economics.
- Emergent patterns of civil society participation in global and European governance, Steffek, J., & Nanz, P. (2008). In Civil society participation in European and global governance(pp. 1-29). Palgrave Macmillan, London. This paper looks at the disciplines of International Relations and European studies and how these studies are normative in nature. It notes that there are questions of democratic legitimacy on most studies today and shows that most European studies suffer democratic deficit. Academicians are discussing options such as representative parliamentary institutions, new accountability systems, and enhance political deliberation.