Civil Society and International Development

OECD Development Centre

Interest in the concept of civil society has undergone a remarkable renaissance in the 1990s. It is currrently seen as a potential tool to overcome some of the main theoretical and political stalemates. But what exactly does the concept of civil society mean ? Can civil society really be a counterweight to governments which have become too remote from their people ? The Western concept of what constitutes civil society may well have to be adjusted when applied to developing economies where different cultural forces and values come into play.

This book takes up the challenge of defining civil society's role in furthering developmental objectives within the context of developing societies themselves. It compares the activities and attitudes of different elements of civil society within the development process, and suggests ways in which they could be made more effective. It also shows that governments should not try to replace their own development activities with those of civil society.

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