Michael Jarvis has argued that we should stop using the frame “closing civic space” because it’s too all encompassing and negative, and, in his view, it presents a barrier to solutions.  In response, Deborah Doane argues that moving away from that framing at this stage would be folly.

By analogizing to the mental health system –  a subset of the much broader field of public health – she argues that focusing on closing civil society space has been an effective way to coalesce a wide group of actors around the specific problems of civil society organizations. Otherwise, the issue can get lost in more generalized discussions about the state of democracy.

Rather than abandoning the frame, we need to make more of an effort to elevate it into mainstream circles.

Doane’s full response can be found on the Ariadne website.


Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash