Civil society

Modern civil society is a sphere of social interaction between the economy and the state, including publicity and a range of free associations. These are established through various forms of civil initiative and self-mobilisation, and are institutionalised by legislation (especially through subjective rights). Its political role is not to gain power, but to influence and control it.
Civil society is the social totality of civil movements and attitudes. Civil actions rely on self-initiated actions and volunteering. It is an arena of solidarity, public life and publicity, a venue for articulating a diversity of interests. The central character is the citizen, the ‘citoyen’, who is not anyone’s subject but, rather, an individual with ‘civil courage’. Civil society may appear in a spontaneous, non-formalised manner, or in organized, legal forms. The most important feature is that it is the result of the citizens’ free will, and volunteering is a strong element. [1]


[1] See also Nagy, Á. – Nizák, P. – Vercseg, I.: Civil társadalom – nonprofit világ. 2014. [Civil society, non-profit world] Új Ifjúsági Szemle Alapítvány [New Youth Review Foundation]

This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide