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This paper examines the conceptual foundations of civil society and its role in shaping socio-political life in the past decade as well as their prospects and challenges for the next millennium. It argues that civil society is a key mediating force in changing the state- society dynamics, which in turn, is also being reconfigured by the globalization of social life and the rise of identity and resource claims from various groups. Furthermore, state- civil society engagements have been influenced by communication technologies, facilitating the efficient movement of information, capital, and human resources across groups and national boundaries. Finally, the growth of civil society must always be seen within the context of the Asian states trying to balance its functions of promoting political legitimacy and economic development.

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