Can we measure civil society? A proposed methodology for international comparative research

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the concept of civil society in development and governance circles. Broadly understood as the space in society where collective citizen action takes place, civil society has, in fact, proved an extremely difficult concept to define and operationalise. This article proposes a framework and methodology for measuring and comparing the state of different civil societies around the world. It concludes with a discussion of outstanding questions and challenges, drawing on preliminary insights from current efforts to apply the approach in more than 50 countries.