(by Giovanni Moro)


Though widely diffused the concept of civic action is not clearly defined, nor has it a well-established meaning. For example, civic action is referred to enabling people to make sure legislators hear their voices; to building knowledge on important issues and take action through campaigns to change the behavior of public and private institutions; to citizens becoming more active members in their community; up to a military force operating in favor of civilians including dental, engineering, medical, veterinarian activities.

Civic action neither has a precise placing in scientific community. References to this concept can indeed be found in the literature on collective action and social movements, on participatory democracy, on advocacy, on political participation, on community organizing, on social networks, on social capital, on direct democracy, on volunteerism, on stakeholder theory, etc. (cf. Andriof, 2002; Della Porta & Diani, 2006; Rubin & Rubin, 1992).

In this situation, therefore, what has to be done is not to choose the most updated, comprehensive, and precise definition of the concept, but rather to identify the kind of reality the concept would refer to. Starting from this concern, it can be noticed that, in the civil society discourse, what distinguishes this concept from close others is the focus on the practices that the citizenry carry out in order to fulfill general or common interest goals, rather than on forms, motivations, kind of actors, etc. Starting from this essential element a definition and a more precise content of the concept can be fixed.

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