Definition of Civil Society

What is 'civil society'? Define Civil Society, the historical development of the term, and explain its principle value in the democratic state.

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... as different entities. Tocqueville's Democracy in America is another major development in the philosophical treatment of civil society. Tocqueville recognized that the growth and development of civil associations that lie beyond the control of the state is a crucial defence against political despotism. Herein lies the principal value of civil society. There is a strong correlation - they contend - between the strength and autonomy of associational life and the presence and vitality of a democratic polity.

The Value of Civil Society

Civil society is lauded for two principal reasons: its pluralist and its educational functions. Perhaps the most obvious - and in liberal discourse the most often championed - value of civil society is its impact upon the exercise of state power. When civic associations organize in defence of their interests in a well-developed civil society (one ...