Reference Work Entry

International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

pp 12-18


  • John D. ClarkAffiliated withWorld Bank


Civil society advocacy embraces influential decision makers, media promotion, citizen education, and various forms of civic engagement, and has emerged strongly in recent decades. This is because of the increasingly multifaceted nature of politics in today’s cosmopolitan world, which makes it difficult for a small number of political parties to adequately represent the diverse concerns of citizens. There is a clear shift from representative to participatory democracy – with a profusion of pressure groups and the relative decline of political parties in most democracies. The CSOs and networks that result have a variety of forms, largely reflecting the degree of formality of their alliances.

Given that the policy issues of popular concern may be global in nature, the rise of transnational civil society – uniting people who share common concerns everywhere – is one of the most important developments. This, however, presents CSOs considerable challenges concerning th ...

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