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Niall Ferguson examines the role of institutions in creating a vibrant and independent civil society - and identifies the continuing risk of threats to their autonomy.

The historian Niall Ferguson examines institutions outside the political, economic and legal realms, whose primary purpose is to preserve and transmit particular knowledge and values. In a lecture delivered at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he asks if the modern state is quietly killing civil society in the Western world? And what can non-Western societies do to build a vibrant civil society?

Producer: Jane Beresford.

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58 minutes

Transcript: Civil and Uncivil Societies

Transcript: Civil and Uncivil Societies

Read the transcript of Niall Ferguson's final 2012 Reith Lecture, Civil and Uncivil Societies, in which he asks what constitutes a vibrant and independent civil society.

Comment on this lecture

Comment on this lecture

Read comments and share your views on Niall Ferguson’s final Reith Lecture on the Radio 4 blog.

Further listening and reading

Further listening and reading

Explore some of the references and topics from Niall Ferguson's fourth Reith Lecture, Civil and Uncivil Societies.

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