Civil Society & Political History

There is a large body of literature explaining what a ‘civil society’ looks like and what it might entail. However, a simple enough definition is ‘a society of civility’ where there are strong associations with ideas and practices of courtesy, courteousness, politeness, good manners, mannerliness, gentlemanliness, chivalry, gallantry, graciousness, consideration, respect, gentility, urbanity, cordiality, geniality, pleasantness, affability, and politesse. One might think, in the modern world, that the civil society is a state of pretence, or a hollow existence, or an utopian ideal. This is because civil society is conceived in political theory. Modern politics is too often the antithesis of the civil society with plotting, scheming, and other Machiavellian forms of partisan action.

Since 1989 Queensland history had been largely perceived in the filter of the Fitzgerald era, a narrative of redemption from the world of political corruption in a decentralised state. There is no doubt that the story is an important historiography, but too overlooked are the successes and failures of a civil society which allowed and resisted political corruption. It is another story too long hidden and requires a socio-intellectual historian such as Dr Buch to tell it.

In his chapter ten of his doctorate, Dr Buch, revealed part of this story on the role of civil society through religious organisations. His earlier honours’ thesis also provided some groundwork in the larger project. However, it is a project long time in the making.

About Dr Neville Buch

Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.

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