A society It is a group of people who share certain characteristics and have common goals. Civil , on the other hand, is what is associated with a citizen or that is not part of the orbit of the religious or military.
The idea of civil society , thus, is linked to the group of individuals who develop activities in the private sphere. The concept, however, can be understood in various ways.
For the social Sciences , civil society is the group of subjects that, assuming their role as citizens, develop certain actions to influence the public sphere . Civil society, in this sense, can act in politics without being part of the government or even without belonging to a political party or other organization.
It can be said that civil society operates autonomously with respect to State , organizing independently and voluntarily. If a group of neighbors decides to congregate in a square to protest a wave of robberies, demanding the resignation of the Police chief and demanding more agents in the street, it could be indicated that it is a protest from civil society. The claim can then be taken, or not, by the government or by some political sector that channels it in some way to the structures where the decisions of the State .
One of the names associated with this concept in the field of social sciences is that of Alexis Henri Charles de Clérel , also known as Alexis de Tocqueville. It is a politician, historian, jurist and thinker of French origin who lived in the early nineteenth century, considered one of the most significant ideologues of liberalism, as well as a forerunner of the so-called classical sociology. According to its definition of the concept, we understand civil society as a group of civic institutions and organizations of a voluntary and social nature, which fulfill mediation functions between the State and individuals .
Alexis de Tocqueville also contemplated the presence of non-governmental organizations within this group of civil society, those that do not pursue the profit motive, such as foundations, associations, professional associations, religious communities and universities . It was also this prominent politician who first analyzed the link between the democracy and civil society and resolved that the first one benefits from any kind of social organization, since it opens the doors to citizen participation, as if it were a wall that prevented the State from invading this space as it pleased.
The German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas , acclaimed for his contributions to practical philosophy, assured that democracy - without which the existence of a legitimate State is not possible - depended in part on a distinction between a political and a civil society. In his work it is possible to find the following two components of civil society:
* the institutions that defend and define the social, political and individual rights of the people and that allow them to associate freely, defend themselves from monopoly and other actions that threaten their freedoms and intervene in their own system ;
* social movements that constantly bring new values and principles to the table, as well as demands from the people and control over respect for their rights.
In the context of right , civil society is the contract that establish two or more individuals, assuming the obligation to put certain resources in common for the creation of a legal person that does not have an exclusively commercial character, although it intends to generate a profit that, if obtained, is divided between the parties.