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Meaning of Civil society

Civil society groups are private organised groups formed purposely to achieve certain social, economic and/or political goals or objectives for the benefit of society. Members of these groups come together for a common cause. They provide an alternative to pressure groups, which are sometimes selfish in their cause and programmes. This is so because pressure groups often seek to protect only the interests of their members.


Classification of Civil Society Groups

Civil society groups can be classified as follows:

Interest groups: Good examples of interest groups as civil society are trade unions, professional groups and business groups.

Organisational based civil society groups: These groups may be based on the following:

  • kinship
  • ethnicity
  • culture
  • religion

Service based civil society groups: These are based on the services they render to society.

Deviant civil society: Some civil society groups are regarded as deviant because of their activities. Secret societies are good examples of deviant civil society.



  1. Define Civil Society.
  2. Explain any two civil society classification you know.
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