Australia and Israel Compared
- Monash Studies in Global Movements series
Edited by Andrew Markus and Moshe Semyonov
4. The civil society Olena Bagno, Majid Al-Haj and Andrew Jakubowicz The term ‘civil society’ refers to voluntary collective activity to advance shared interests and goals. In conceptual terms, the realm of ‘civil society’ is distinguished from the ‘state’ and the ‘marketplace’, although in practice boundaries are rarely clear-cut. The Centre for Civil Society at the London School of Economics (n.d.), while noting that there are a number of competing definitions, argued for definition in the following terms: Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated. Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power. In this chapter civil society is considered in terms of non-profit organizations (NPOs) such as registered charities, development non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community groups, women’s organizations, faithbased organizations, self-help groups, social movements, coalitions and advocacy groups. We consider a range of welfare, advocacy, educational, cultural and political organizations formed by and for immigrants. Business associations, trade unions, professional associations and other non-governmental organizations related to the business sphere are not included in our definition of civil society, contrary to the approach of some authors (for example, Fisher 1997; Sadowski 2009). Civil society is a ‘third sector’, distinct from but linked to the state...
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