International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

Civil Society and Social Inequality

  • Thomas Klie
Reference work entry


At a time when social inequalities are on the increase both within nations and in the relations between poor and rich countries, the notion of civil society has become a matter of particular interest in national as well as supranational debates. However, this coincidence tends to engender mistrust whenever countries or supranational bodies pin their hopes on the civil society (or the “global civil society”) as a resource in the creation of a fair and just world in the age of globalization.

At the outset of debate, after all, globalization was associated with the hope that it would lead to a liberal, democratic, and just world order. There is an expectation that with the emergence of a global civil society, a more emancipated world order would be created. The liberal, cosmopolitan idea of a global civil society refers to the widening, deepening, and accelerating global interconnectedness and interdependence. Many normative international theorists insist that an emerging...

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References/Further Readings

  1. Brooks, D., & Geer, J. G. (2005, September). Incivility, negativity, and campaigns. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC, from; 06/30/2008
  2. Collier, P. (2007). The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Gensicke, Th. (2006). Bürgerschaftliches Engagement in Deutschland. Das Parlament, with the Supplement Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 12, from; 20.03.2006
  4. Gensicke, Th., Picot, S., & Geiss, S. (2005). Freiwilliges engagement in Deutschland 1999–2004: Ergebnisse der repräsentativen Trenderhebung zu Ehrenamt, Freiwilligenarbeit und bürgerschaftlichem Engagement. Carried out by TNS Infratest Social Research on behalf of the Federal Ministry for family affairs, senior citizens, women and youth, from,did = 73430.html; 06/27/2008
  5. Greiffenhagen, M. (Eds.) (2002). Handwörterbuch zur politischen Kultur der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag.Google Scholar
  6. Hradil, S. (2001). Soziale Ungleichheit in Deutschland. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  7. Kitamura, O. (2005, March). Global civil society in a world of difference: Inclusion, justice and international ethics. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii, from; 06/27/2008
  8. Nolte, P. (2003). Zivilgesellschaft und soziale Ungleichheit. Forschungsjournal Neue Soziale Bewegungen, 16(2), 38–45.Google Scholar
  9. Putnam, R. D. (2001). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. London: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  10. Salamon, L. M., Sokolowski S. W., & List, R. (2003). Global civil society. An overview. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, from∼ccss/publications/pdf/globalciv.pdf; 06/27/2008
  11. Sen, A. K., & Foster, J. E. (1997). On economic inequality. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  12. Smith, J. et al. (2007, August). The world social forums and the challenges of global democracy (With updates on the Recent US Social Forum). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, from; 2008–07–21

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Klie
    • 1
  1. 1.Zentrum für zivilgesellschaftliche EntwicklungFreiburgGermany