Capturing the Civic Lives of Cities: An Organizational, Place-Based Perspective on Civil Society in Global Cities

In a wired world, how do social interactions among organizations and people continue to define civil society? Our co-produced approach to studying civil societies through a place-based, organizational lens provides fresh answers to perennial questions about voice, accountability, and embeddedness. The six articles in this collection on the civic life of cities draw on more than 1,400 interviews with organizational leaders in San Francisco, Seattle, Shenzhen, Singapore, Sydney, and Vienna. Moving beyond the “big theories” of civil society, the articles illustrate the value of our dual emphasis on place and organizations by showing how comparisons of the people, practices, and partnerships of civil society organizations enable new middle-range theories of civil society. This approach promises to offer rich comparative insights into similarities and differences among organizations around the globe.