One of the main motivations for measuring the weakness or strength of civil society is to obtain a reliable basis for understanding the dynamics of its development as well as its social and political potential. In this article, we argue that the paradox of the “weakness of civil society” in Central and Eastern Europe can be explained by insufficient methodologies involved in what we call the static approach to the strength (or weakness) of civil society. We present a more appropriate alternative, called the dynamic approach, in which weakness or strength is not an inherent property of a civil society and consequently cannot be measured by a set of indicators collected for a single point in time. Moreover, in a dynamic approach, the weakness or strength of civil society is a derivative of the dynamics of its development over time along multiple axes of indicators. In other words, we propose that the weakness or strength of civil society ought to be conceived of as the ratio of its development over time and that it must be evaluated inside a data-rich environment where comparison over time is possible.

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