By John Burbidge

Beyond Prince
and Merchant

Citizen Participation and the Rise of Civil Society

No longer are people willing to leave it to governments and business to lead. Citizens are seizing the initiative and reclaiming their rightful place as the catalysts of social change.

Beyond Prince and Merchant gives a human face to the global phenomenon of citizens catalyzing social change. Beginning with a description of the origins and evolution of the concept of civil society, the book explores the global mosaic of civil society today, as well as its new frontiers — the role of women and youth, local community, micro-enterprise, participatory methods, indicators of a healthy civil society and much more.

Written by practitioners and academics from around the world who are striving to create a global civil society, this book describes the challenges confronting civil society and provides inspiring examples of how these challenges are being met.

Citizen activists

Reviews of 
Beyond Prince and Merchant

In the abundance of literature on civil society, this book stands out with its clarity, understanding of diversity, and multicultural approach. A truly civil book on civil society.   
   — Miklos Marschall, CIVICUS

Beyond Prince and Merchant describes the rise of civil society in a broad conceptual framework and practical, down-to-earth detail. The ICA is proud to be associated with this valuable contribution to the global dialogue on the subject.
   — Hala El Kholy, The Institute of Cultural Affairs International

This extraordinary book provides a wealth of insights about the role of civil society in achieving sustainable, people-centered development through mechanisms and processes of good governance.
   — Robertson Work, United Nations Development Programme

This book is a must for those wanting to understand the revolution happening the world over as citizens organize to meet the great challenges we all face.
   — Richard Sandbrook, International Institute for Environment and Development

Other Books

Approaches That Work
in Rural Development

Emerging trends, participatory methods and local initiatives that have transformed rural development around the world.

Dare Me!

The acclaimed biography of an author whose audacious life and provocative writing pushed the boundaries of acceptability in 20th century Australia.

More Than Halfway To Somewhere

A captivating collection of colorful tales from one who dares to risk and celebrate the world’s diverse cultures and their unique individuals.  


Contrasting with governmental power and economic power — the power of the Prince and the Merchant — there is an immediate and autonomous power; sometimes evident, sometimes latent: people’s power.


My Writing Blog

Musings from a Writer’s Life

Becoming My Own Publisher

Becoming My Own Publisher

After having had six books published in four countries, I decided to try self-publishing my latest book, MORE THAN HALFWAY TO SOMEWHERE. This decision was driven by comments from a previous publisher and a writer friend who both deemed my collection of travel stories ‘not commercially viable’. But I also had a desire to experiment with this way of reaching readers, in which I would have control over the entire process, from writing and editing to designing, printing and distributing my book. Or so I thought.

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It’s OK to Judge a Book by Its Cover

It’s OK to Judge a Book by Its Cover

How often have you been told “Never judge a book by its cover”? While there is wisdom in that saying, it tends to mask the vital role that actual book covers play in capturing readers’ interest. My experience with covers of a number of books bears this out. But getting to the final choice has often been a circuitous, rushed and last-minute undertaking, as the following examples show.

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