International development : ideas, experience and prospects; chapter 46
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Civil society is the arena, outside of the state and the market, which is created by individual and collective actions, organizations, and institutions to advance shared interests. The concept of ‘shared interests’ can be both for the common good of all society or the benefit of a minority group. History provides examples of social change as people organized movements against perceived injustice, and in favor of new ideas of development. The concept of “civicdriven change” counters an apolitical and technical understanding of development, to instead address the political barriers that perpetuate poverty and inequality. Civil society is motivated by a pluralistic “idea of justice” which challenging the assumed roles of governments, corporations and individuals. These roles are undergoing new scrutiny in the face of rising demands for accountability, in which civil society provides part of the checks and balances on political and economic power.