International comparative research on civil society has subordinated Africa's diversity and specificities to other geographies and histories. Results are prejudiced global conceptualisations, questionable enumeration, problematic theory formulation and ill-conceived approaches to development initiatives intended to make African civil society 'stronger' and states more democratic. This article sets out a case for an endogenous approach to civil society enquiry as a political category sensitive to the continent's particularisms. In order to locate discussion about meanings, measures and measuring, a conceptual framework for research is described which avoids conflation with other epistemologies. Such a contribution will assist in sharpening thinking and discussion about the boundary characteristics of what is to be investigated.

Civic agency, Civil society, Endogenous research, Measurement
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11266-011-9239-8, hdl.handle.net/1765/37954
Voluntas: international journal of voluntary and non-profit organizations
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Fowler, A.F. (2012). Measuring Civil Society: Perspectives on Afro-Centrism. Voluntas: international journal of voluntary and non-profit organizations, 23(1), 5–25. doi:10.1007/s11266-011-9239-8