Centre for Civil Society

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= Australian public policy institute for the empowerment of ordinary people and strengthening of civil society

URL = http://www.civilsociety.org.au/


" The Centre for Civil Society is a social innovation and public policy institute for the empowerment of ordinary people and strengthening of civil society.

The term 'civil society' refers to the relationships and associations that make up our life at grass-roots levels of society, in families, neighbourhoods and voluntary associations, independent of both government and the commercial world. Our aim is to strengthen civil society and empower people within it.

The term does not refer to 'politeness' or 'civility' in public life, as important as this is. It refers to that part of society that is not part of the state, hence the term 'civilian' when used to distinguish a person in civil society from military personnel or state officials, or the notion of a civil offence in law which is an offence between persons in civil society rather than a criminal matter.

The 'not-for-profit' sector of organisations is one strand in civil society, alongside informal and voluntary forms of association and activity. The 'not-for-profit' sector is not more important than informal and voluntary forms of association, though it currently attracts far greater attention from governments, policy makers and academics than other forms of relationship and association.

In Australia, civil society is largely ignored in public life. Personal and social well-being is largely determined in and by civil society, but discourse about civil society has been almost entirely absent from Australian public discussion for the last century.

In the last thirty years in particular, a managerial revolution has swept through government, business and non-government organisations which has deeply marginalised civil society. Managerialism has had the effect of shifting agency and responsibility for personal and social well-being away from the relationships and institutions of civil society to a class of public, private and NGO sector managers. This process has almost killed off the instinct for, and practice of, voluntary association, personal responsibility, and the shared generation of moral and social capital.

The Centre for Civil Society was established in 2007 to counter this marginalisation of civil society in Australian public life.

We run events, publish resources and organise change-makers in federal electorates across the country.

The Centre is dedicated to empowering ordinary Australians in our roles as community members, residents, consumers, parents, family members, modest owners of assets, small business proprietors, and volunteers." (http://www.civilsociety.org.au/)

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