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Exploratory System of 14 Contrasting Concepts of Civil Society

Presents a variety of ways of framing civil society.

Exploratory System of 14 Contrasting Concepts of Civil Society
Cross-cultural challenge
Contrasting images

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It is a basic mistake to assume that the concept of "civil society" is understood in the same way, whether between cultures or within any culture. The questions as to whether individuals or groups can associate or develop through intentional social groupings (other than in the obvious ways that preoccupy educators, economists, physicians and psychologists) are not understood in the same way in different contexts.

For some, although alternative modes of collective association are a reality, social and individual development does not necessarily mean a journey through a pattern of such less conventional modes. Individual and group maturity have not been effectively defined and it is uncertain whether they lend themselves to definition. And for many, the degree of individual suffering in the world renders quite absurd any discussion of development within society that does not concentrate on basic human needs. In some traditions, however, it is the failure to cultivate some of the less recognized modes of association which is directly responsible for the ills engendered in the world.