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Civil Society (Civil Society)


Civil Society (Civil Society) Cover

ISBN13: 9780874519259
ISBN10: 087451925x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Edward Gibbon said of the ancient Athenians, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.

America is the longest-lived democracy in the history of the world, but there are signs that our own extraordinary system faces a similar peril. A vibrant civil society, characterized by active citizen participation, is essential to a strong democracy, argues Brian O'Connell, and in his new book he offers a citizen's guide to this concept of civil society — what it is, how it functions, its limitations and potential, and most importantly, what individuals can do to nurture and support it. It is designed to provide practical understanding and foster action among community and national leaders, including mayors, civic leaders, school boards, public administrators, independent sector leaders, scholars, and teachers.

Civil Society explores the idea and the reality of citizen participation, including government's essential responsibility to preserve the freedoms that allow and encourage it. It also traces the contemporary weakening of this tradition as a result of indifference, selfishness, loss of confidence in government, governmental limits on citizen participation, the influence of special interests on elected officials, separation between the haves and have nots, intolerance and incivility.

Founding president of INDEPENDENT SECTOR and first chairman of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Brian O'Connell draws on his extensive practical experience of civil society to outline concrete actions that can improve the prospects of an enduring democracy, including:

- increasing the role of education in preparing students for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship;

- reorienting public administrators towards a greater receptivity of citizen involvement;

- expanding research into and conducting regular evaluations of the state of civil society itself;

- developing a concerted effort to share and apply what we already know about passing on to future generations the nation's traditions of service and generosity.

In Civil Society, Brian O'Connell has created a practical handbook for elected officials, community leaders, and ordinary citizens who seek to nurture and expand this crucial dimension of a democratic society.


O'Connell offers an action guide for citizen leaders and teachers--must-know information to help ensure that the democracy will last another century.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 127-138) and index.

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tgrang13, May 15, 2012 (view all comments by tgrang13)
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about civil society and democracy. It is a very easy read, but still jam packed with interesting information. The author really breaks it down in a way that is easy to understand. It is also very interesting how he analyzes the role of social institutions in democracy. There is a big emphasis on how democracy is a partnership between government and citizens. It is also very interesting to learn about how different presidents have contributed to the rise and fall of civic engagement. I would recommend this book to everybody. It is a very valuable learning tool when it comes in the areas of democracy, civil society, and civic engagement.
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Product Details

Gardner, John William
C'Connell, Brian
O'Connell, Brian
Gardner, John William
Tufts University
Hanover, NH :
U.S. Government
Civil Rights
Associations, institutions, etc.
Political participation
Civil society
Associations, institutions, etc. -- United States.
Political Freedom & Security - Civil Rights
Government - U.S. Government
Political participation -- United States.
Civil society -- United States.
Politics-United States Politics
Civil Society
Publication Date:
8.46x5.46x.51 in. .51 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics

Civil Society (Civil Society) New Trade Paper
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Product details 169 pages University Press of New England - English 9780874519259 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , O'Connell offers an action guide for citizen leaders and teachers--must-know information to help ensure that the democracy will last another century.
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