Historicising Civil Society In Africa: An Analysis of the State, Democracy and the Third Sector

Mojibayo M Fadakinte


This paper discusses civil society as both a social value and as a set of institutions. However, whichever way we discuss the idea of civil society (as social value or as a set of institutions) in Africa, we are faced with some challenges because the idea of civil society poses a unique problematic. For example, to what extent is civil society a relevant idea in Africa, or does the idea of civil society any history in Africa, or does the third sector play any meaningful role, so as to be relevant in constitutionalism? Civil society as institutions derives its relevance from being between the state (government) and the people (society) to prevent the state from tyrannical and authoritarian rule and protect the citizen’s rights (democracy). In Africa, the state is either non-existent or it is in serious crisis, because it is fragmented and also lacks the peace to grow democracy while the African societies are more like communities as Africans are really more in communities than in societies. Again, in Africa, the liberal democracy that makes civil society institutions relevant is a charm. What do we then have in Africa, to make politics and liberal democracy (state/ society relations) a meaningful


Historicizing; Civil society; Africa; State; Democracy; Third sector; Social value

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