Civic (the word and concept)

The word “civic” is, and has been, used in many ways. For some people, it can suggest a list of behaviors (such as voting, protest, or community service); a reference to a city (as in “The Pittsburgh Civic Arena”); civilian as opposed to military norms; or some kind of boundary around desirable behavior or the group of fully enfranchised people. Some relate the word to “civility.”

Although none of these definitions is incorrect, this site uses an implicit definition like the following: “The set of virtues and institutions necessary for a community to discuss and debate and then exercise power over the commons.” That definition, which links “civic” to democracy and republican ideals, has a long tradition.


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