This chapter sets out the essential elements of the concept of civil society. It acknowledges the extent to which it is a contested concept. It also emphasises the distinctiveness of the concept for many people and organisations in central and eastern Europe. It explains the preference for an associational definition of civil society. It tackles the long-standing problem of giving meaning to the concept of community and then set outs the rationale for choosing to use the typology of the sociologist Roland Warren. The typology proposes five key functions needed by communities to survive and flourish. It ends by putting forward a hypothesis as to how community development can help communities be part of civil society.
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