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Civic Agency

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Civic agency is a human predisposition toward, and a capability for, leading life together with others in a society with concern for the whole. Agency which is considered civic incorporates a basic principle of a fair, tolerant society.

Civic agency connects political theory with purposeful sociopolitical action by persons who enjoy a minimal condition of meaningful citizenship, i.e., there is at least respect for the “right to have rights” (Dagnino 2005: 5). Environments with a minimum respect for the right of all to have their say and be socially engaged are a precondition for civic agency. Where this precondition is not fulfilled, notions of a public realm and civic agency remain a theoretical potential but cannot operate in a practical sense.

It is common practice to associate civic agency with noncommercial purposes that characterize philanthropy, voluntarism, and equivalent pro-social behaviors.


In a most basic meaning, “civic agency” can be understood as...

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Correspondence to Alan Fowler .

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Fowler, A., Biekart, K. (2020). Civic Agency. In: List, R., Anheier, H., Toepler, S. (eds) International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. Springer, Cham.

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