"The second edition of this book is a timely update to Edwards′ first successful edition. Civil Society is arguably the most important and clear contribution to the civil society debate in recent times." Millennium, Journal of International Studies "A great introduction and addition to the scholarship of civil society. In the first pages of this book, you get a sense that you are not reading another book about volunteering, or another book about ′doing good′. This is much more than that. It is refreshing, well written and a good critique of scholarship and the civil history of the Western world." Journal of Sociology "The second edition of this book is even better than the first and provides an excellent introduction to a complicated concept. The global scope of the book is particularly valuable – by adding material from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as about transnational civil society, the author has provided a truly comprehensive view of his topic." Leslie Lenkowsky, Indiana University "Michael Edwards is to be congratulated. This much revised second edition makes use of the latest scholarship, drawn from a great variety of fields and sources, and exhibits mastery over the relevant scholarly literature. At the same time, the style is clear and expository, with a welcome avoidance of social science jargon. As a result, even the general reader would be invaluably instructed and impressed by this fine book." Richard Falk, University of California, Santa Barbara Acclaim for the first edition: "This is a gem of a book on a massive topic. At barely 50,000 words it can – and should – be read in a day or so, yet it manages to address lucidly and humorously some of the most urgent and compelling issues of the day ... His essay is at once analytically acute and inspirational." Times Higher Education Supplement "The best public social science is often created by publicly engaged intellectuals and scholars ... A case in point is Michael Edwards, whose new book, Civil Society ... is rich with examples and case studies" Harry Boyte, Civic Engagement News "Mike Edwards is one of the few writers who can bridge the divide between theoretical, empirical and practical concerns ... ′Civil Society′ is essentialreading for anyone interested in creating a better world through citizen action." Alliance Magazine "Drawing insights from history, philosophy, economics, and politics ... Edwards peels back the layers of logic , assumption, and fact to offer a clear–eyed assessment of civil society′s contribution to society at large." Democracy & Society "Essential reading for understanding the idea of civil society." Voluntas "Combining lucid presentation with thought provoking and coherent theoretical arguments, Edwards establishes a connecting thread between chapters. The wide survey of literature and analysis of the nature and functioning of civil society makes it a comprehensive companion useful for academia and activists with an interest in the field." Asian Journal of Social Science "The virtue of Edwards′ book is that he approaches civil society from the perspective of how to make it more effective in securing its objectives." Australian Review of Public Affairs "Sometimes big things do come in small packages. Michael Edwards′s Civil Society fits that description precisely...this compact volume helps the reader understand what ′civil society′ is, where the concept came from, and why it is significant in today′s globalized socioeconomic–political environment. Most important, Edwards raises questions about popular assumptions, even those long held and often articulated by experts on and advocates for civil society." The International Center for Not for Profit Law "Readable and finely nuanced." Open Democracy "[T]his ambitious and compact book provides a very useful summary of the ongoing civil society debate and will appeal to a broad audience motivated to contribute in some way or another to ′positive social change′." Development and Change
From the Back Cover
Since its publication in 2004, Civil Society has become a standard work of reference for all those who seek to understand the role of voluntary citizen action in the contemporary world. In this thoroughly–revised edition, Michael Edwards updates the arguments and evidence presented in the original and adds major new material on issues such as civil society in Africa and the Middle East, global civil society, information technology and new forms of citizen organizing. He explains how in the future the pressures of state encroachment, resurgent individualism, and old and familiar forces of nationalism and fundamentalism in new clothes will test and re–shape the practice of citizen action in both positive and negative ways. Civil Society will help readers of all persuasions to navigate these choppy waters with greater understanding, insight and success. Colleges and universities, foundations and NGOs, public policy–makers, journalists and commissions of inquiry – all have used Edwards’s book to understand and strengthen the vital role that civil society can play in deepening democracy, re–building community, and addressing poverty, inequality and injustice. This new edition will be required reading for anyone who is interested in creating a better world through citizen action.