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Civil Society Organizations

 
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uh huh



Joined: 14 Oct 2011
Posts: 110
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:55 am    Post subject: Civil Society Organizations Reply with quote

Hello,

I have a student, a visiting scholar from Latin America, who is intent on using the term "civil society organizations" without defining it. When I do a search, the phrase seems to show up mostly in relation to the UN and the World Bank.

I would appreciate hearing from other teachers if this is a term you are familiar with, that you hear used regularly.

Thanks!
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 742
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Civil society = the space between the government and the people. The institutions that bond us together and help us not kill each other. Bowling leagues, churches, clubs, university alumni groups, the Red Cross, you name it - all civil society organizations. My opinion - we don't tend to hear this term in richer countries because we take these social bonds for granted and don't have the same fundamental violent splits or anarchic order found in many other countries. If you ask, your student from Latin America could likely give you quite a lot of insight on this term.
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EFL Educator



Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 988
Location: Cape Town

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Civil society seems to be lacking more and more each day....especially due to overwhelming population growth in many cities...thus not enough space for people to live in. Shocked Shocked Shocked
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Mr. Leafy



Joined: 24 Apr 2012
Posts: 246
Location: North of the Wall

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:13 am    Post subject: Re: Civil Society Organizations Reply with quote

uh huh wrote:


I have a student, ... who is intent on using the term "civil society organizations" Thanks!


Your wording suggests you don't approve of his or her choice of expression. (I could be wrong, but that's the impression.) Even as English teachers, there are many words and collocations we haven't come across.

I first came across this expression as a sector of work of the British Council. It's about empowering grassroots and holding government accountable to people. (my words, not theirs)

Try this link for brief description and a brochure to download;

http://www.britishcouncil.org/partner/international-development/sector/civil-society

or this
http://www.britishcouncil.org/active-citizens

various of their country sites have more specific project information too.
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uh huh



Joined: 14 Oct 2011
Posts: 110
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:21 pm    Post subject: Civil Society Organizations Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

Yes, I realized I showed my bias in the phrasing of the question. My concern is that the term would not be commonly understood in the US, where he is studying. I had never heard it, nor had several colleagues, and as I mentioned, searches showed up references outside the US. I don't have a problem with his using the term; I just think it would be good for him define it.

I want to see what other teachers think.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11525
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you that the meaning of the term is unlikely to be familiar to many in the US, and that it probably needs some clarification. I think it's worth giving a heads-up to the student that s/he may need to clarify, particularly if s/he is using the term in written texts for US readers.

Not implying that there is anything whatsoever wrong with the term; just that I agree it's probably not immediately clear what it is to many native English speakers.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I learned the term "car park" (which I'd never heard or read before) overseas. The first time a student used it, I thought it was a mistake. Very Happy

Regards,
John
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