Any discussion of the future of civil society needs to start by acknowledging the demise of Homo Cívica – the civic human and reduction of our societal roles to labour, voter and consumer.
Any viable future needs to framed about rebuilding and re-expanding the role of citizen beyond the provision and capacity of labour, consumption and the vote – embracing the civic agency, capacity and participation of citizens.
This is a future not focused or defined by the “civic” organisations providing outsourced social care, or even innovation in care, or advocacy, or policy think tanking, but on investment in the development of Homo Cívica.
The investment required for Homo Cívica is :
- The recreation of a liminal space; real free space beyond the enslavement of our current roles. It is a space of emancipation, human development, participation, tinkering and inventing. It is a space for exploring beyond the confines of the path dependency of the now, discovered with those flashes of human genius which only light up in the buzz of conversations between equals. In this moment where the future becomes unknown – this is the space to democratise the capacity for us dream, imagine, care and create – to allow the future to be truly inclusive and be born together and avoid us becoming victims of this tomorrow.
- An investment in the recreation of the “civic sabbath” – liminal time – where the consumer and labour economy largely closes in a coordinated manner to release us to discover other modes of fulfilment.
- An investment in creating new civic infrastructure in every neighbourhood in the UK for the amateur (Love) economy – social spaces for clubs, associations, tinkering, trade schools, inventing, making, poetry and art – fit for the imagination of the 21st century.
- An investment from the threat of destitution. A universal basic income would be the ultimate investment in the emancipation of humans – the research and development which we need to transform our society.
Rediscovering Homo Cívica and a future civic society is a foundational investment in rebuilding bridging social capital, societal trust, the amateur economy, the infrastructure for life long human development, democratising invention and thereby innovation.
This is the foundational investment required to reboot our socio-economy and build a real democratic society.
It’s counter intuitive to current political climate, but it’s the route we must take to re-heal and rebuild.