Civil society is widely considered as a crucial element in contemporary society. Academics and policy makers have traditionally associated it with voluntary associations and organizations, assuming that associational life is an ideal intermediary between citizens and government. While members of associations form large social networks, which they can mobilize at critical moments, the conviviality of group sociability fosters the development of a set of common values, such as a democratic political culture and other civic virtues. Its origins are generally situated in the eighteenth century, and are mostly attributed to secularization, Enlightenment thinking, the birth of the “public sphere,” and growing emancipation from oppressive structures such as the church and the state.,
Social Science History
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

van Dijck, M., De Munck, B., & Terpstra, N. (2017). Relocating Civil Society : Theories and Practices of Civil Society between Late Medieval and Modern Society. Social Science History, 41(1), 1–17. doi:10.1017/ssh.2016.35