Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Civil society > civil + society

Civil society refers to the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state's political system) (

Alternatively, civil society refers to the set of institutions, organisations and behaviour situated between the state, the business world, and the family. Specifically, this includes voluntary and non-profit organisations of many different kinds, philanthropic institutions, social and political movements, other forms of social participation and engagement and the values and cultural patterns associated with them (

1594 Richard Hooker Of the lawes of ecclesiasticall politie Book I. §10 (R.) "Ciuill Society doth more content the nature of man then any priuate kind of solitary liuing."

1770 John Jortin Sermons on different subjects VII. i. 14
"Since then infants are subjects of the State and members of civil society."

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