My dissertation takes the third wave of global democratization and the reemergence of the concept of civil society in the 1980s as a chance to explore some questions referring to authoritarian regimes, democratization, and civil society by looking at the Chilean dictatorship and transition to democracy, covering the 1973-1993 period. How are authoritarian rule and the reemergence of civil society related? How does civil society impact on democratization? How does regime change affect civil society and democratization? A decade into the dictatorship –despite the hard conditions the Pinochet regime imposed on political and social organizing– Chilean civil society had developed a wide array of organizations, independent media, and relations between them, which functioned both at the national and at the grassroots level. This organizational infrastructure was important for contesting authoritarian rule, as well as serving as a civic forum for the elections which ended Pinochet’s rule in 1990. After democracy was restored, however, there has been a tendency toward the demobilization, the dissolution, and the fragmentation of civil society organizations. Empirically based on media analysis, in-depth interviews, and extensive documental research in national and organizational archives in Chile and in Europe, and focusing on the interrelations between international donor agencies, national NGOs, and grassroots organizations, this study explores how civil society is transformed through dictatorial experience, and the strained evolution it has in variable socio-political settings, in an attempt to identify the elements that account for an active civil society in a long-term and cross-level analysis of its historical evolution.