Are you/we on this map? Here's an attempt to picture what civil society in the UK looks like

Click on image for full PDF version

Click on image for full PDF version

Useful exercise from Civil Society Futures, where one of their workshops produced a map (using this method) of what we might see as the key actors in civil society. Just to remind you of CSF’s definition of the term, which is pretty wide-ranging:

Civil society is all of us. When we act not for profit nor because the law requires us to, but out of love or anger or creativity, or principle, we are civil society. When we bring together our friends or colleagues or neighbours to have fun or to defend our rights or to look after each other, we are civil society.

Whether we organise through informal friendship networks, Facebook groups, community events and protests; or formal committees, charities, faiths and trade unions, whether we block runways or co-ordinate coffee mornings, sweat round charity runs or make music for fun; when we organise ourselves outside the market and the state, we are all civil society.

CSF are looking for feedback on the map. Our initial response would be that the map instantly invites and provokes connections between each of these domains - what concerted actions would be possible if these boundaries and silos were jumped across?

We’re also surprised to see “civic tech” and “platform democracy” as faint grey terms at the bottom-middle. Our own engagements with these sectors over the last year or so holds out a lot of promise, particularly around the question of the soft infrastructure that communities need to organise their own assets (whether economic activity, land, energy use, cultural commons, etc).

But mapping is a worthwhile exercise, and a new tool of the new politics, whereever it happens.