Setting Setting Setting Setting thethethe scene scene How can the current wave of social protests be understood? Well, one thing that the Arab Spring, the London riots, the Chilean student revolt and the Occupy movement worldwide have in common is that they are not run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or ‘aided’ civil society groups dedicated to justice for people and planet. Their driving force seems to originate from people’s energy and imagination of a different future that is not determined by ‘outsiders’. In spontaneous protest, people in all walks of life are acting as political players to shape the world they share with others. While results obviously take time to unfold, this way of changing society is very visible, exciting and risky. Less noticeable, but more pervasive, are the ways in which day in day out people are getting together to creatively improve the conditions in which they live, sometimes in wider collaboration, sometimes in conflict. This vital, quiet, slow and dense fabric of social and political life is often overlooked. Instead, attention is focused on social arrangements that can be labelled, registered, counted and ‘governed’ and on citizen action which attracts (brief) media attention....

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Keywords civic driven change
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Series ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development , EUR-ISS-CIRI
Biekart, K, & Fowler, A.F. (2012). Civic Driven Change 2012: an update on the basics. EUR-ISS-CIRI. Retrieved from