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Abstract: Since the fall of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, the economic downturn has taken a heavy tool on many countries, while the spotlight is on the role of political elites and financial actors. The actual and potential role of civil society is hardly mentioned in public debate. Yet, it is within civil society than an alternative paradigm and a fundamental rethinking of conventional wisdom may be fostered. In this session we present three ways to frame the crisis and the role of civil society: reinforcing public accountability, regaining democracy and building resilience. The ultimate goal of this analytical exercise is to investigate the potentially transformative role of civil society in a sector in which it has traditionally been less proactive, in order to reflect on possible forms of social change.
KEY WORDS: Economic crisis, civil society, social change, accountability, degrowth

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Citizens vs markets: Rethinking the economy in a time of crises” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.