The following report by Lindsey Weber is an English synopsis of three
studies on the role of the civil society in the pursuit of peace and democracy
in the Republic of Congo. The studies, based upon empirical analysis of surveys and personal interviews
conducted with members of civil society, approach the issue of the
role of civil society in the Republic of Congo from different but complementary
perspectives. They explore the local understandings of the concepts of
civil society and peace as well as highlight the role played by the civil society
in the peace process and the complex and often-incongruous relationship
between the state and civil society.
The first study, Congolese Civil Society: How does it Express Itself?, defines
the presence of civil society in the Congo and presents an overview of its
impact. The other two, Outcome of the Role and Means of Action of Female Civil
Society in the Construction of Peace and Horizontal Solidarity and Civil Society
in Perspective: the State of Horizontal Society in Brazzaville are appropriate
case studies of the role of specific components of Congolese civil society.
The former study describes the activities and role of female civil society in
the peace process. It is written by a historian, and discusses developments
in the entire country. The latter progresses beyond the contentious issue of
ethnicity to explore the concept of circulation, or interaction, as a catalyst for
the consolidation of civil society independent of state guidance. This study
is authored by a sociologist, and focuses on the city of Brazzaville. Therefore,
the perspectives and levels of analysis are different for each study.