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Essay from the year 2009 in the subject Politics - Political Systems - General and Comparisons, grade: 9 out of 10 points, University of Amsterdam (The Hague University, School for European Studies), course: Contemporary Political Issues, 12 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The concept of civil society is a controversial and recently often discussed topic in the social sciences. Especially since the end of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, in which civil society organizations played an important role, it has been considered as a possible solution for many problems of modern societies and was in the focus of public discussion. This essay tries to find a definition for civil society in its first part and continues by talking about the proclaimed role of it in modern democracies. Several theoretical approaches will be outlined. The already mentioned positive influences will be discussed as well as critically assessed. Afterwards the essay ends with a final conclusion.