Civil Society

Distribusi features articles and observations about ‘civil society’.

The term ‘civil society’ was predominant in the 17th and 18th centuries (via Hobbesian social contract theory); this was a ‘rights and responsibilities’ model for society. In the much earlier classical-period, society was underpinned by the idea that people in community are more fundamentally bound together by mutual generosity than by contract (this is essentially the classical virtue of ‘liberality‘).

Today the term usually applies to formal or semi-formal not-for-profit organisations that represent different groups or causes. However ‘civil society’ can be defined more broadly as being located somewhere between the market and the state; it is the part of our society where people can freely associate for the purposes of mutual advancement and human flourishing.

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