Since the fall of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, the economic downturn hastaken a heavy toll on many countries. In the public and academic discourse on necessaryremedies and reforms, the spotlight is on the role of political elites and business. The actual and potential role of civil society is hardly mentioned in these debates. Yet, it is within civil societythat an alternative paradigm and fundamental rethinking of conventional wisdom may emerge. Inthis collection, we present three different ways to frame the crisis and explore the correspondingroles of civil society actors: Reinforcing public accountability, regaining democracy, and exploring post-growth scenarios. Our goal is to investigate the potentially transformative role of civil society in order to reﬂect on possible paths towards social change that are not merelyremedial but also (re-)constructive in nature.