This paper seeks to give a general overview of the increasingly global preoccupation with Civil Society, one of the key ideas in this new century. At first, the authors attempt to retrace the history of the concept, as a quest for panacea in the post-everything age, at once productive and fraught with problems. The recent revival of the idea of Civil Society in Europe was propelled, in the first instance, by anticommunist dissidents in the East which lacked it and then it moved toward the West. Therefore, the concept, it appears, is known principally by its absence or incompleteness, in the era of consumption, commerce and money and where social life seems to have lost its ideologies and purposes. Secondly, this essay focuses on the relations between Civil Society and the State, and especially in African countries over the past few years. In this regard, lots of debates, round tables and seminars took place in order to create a new analytic construct of Civil Society in Africa, free from imperialism, Eurocentric liberalism as well as from international organizations and development agencies. Scholars and politicians have rediscovered a language in which to talk about the utopian ideals, moral democracy, community based public spheres and stately transformative schemes, as a rescue from the political void, corruption and violence.Finally, the authors analyse the implementation of values and principles of Civil Society in the recent history of several African countries and, at the same time, they reiterate the legitimacy of the concept as a normative force and a valid instrument to formulate and develop new notions of citizenship, sovereignty, moral community, ethical imagination, governance and participatory democracy.Adriana Piga è docente di Sistemi sociali e politici dell’Africa contemporanea presso il Dipartimento Innovazione e Società (DIeS) della “Sapienza” Università di Roma.Mauro Bottaro è antropologo dello sviluppo ed esperto di cooperazione internazionale presso il Ministero degli Esteri e l’Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite.