CIVIL SOCIETY HAS BECOME VERY IMPORTANT--A PREQUISITE FOR DEVELOPING A HEALTHY POLITY AND VIBRANT ECONOMY. THIS ARTICLE CAUTIONS THAT TOO MUCH OF THE WRONG KIND CAN ACTUALLY WEAKEN DEMOCRACY AND PRODUCE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC GRIDLOCK. IT QUESTIONS THE USEFULNESS OF NGOS AND ARGUES THAT CIVIL SOCIETY REALISM SHOULD NOT BE A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS.
This volume of especially commissioned essays explains what is meant by ""civil society"", paying particular attention to the relationships between civil society and other social forces such as nationalism and populism.
Introduction: cities and civil society / John Keane -- Civil society in historical perspective / Jürgen Kocka -- Corporate responsibility and historical injustice / Susanne-Sophia Spiliotis -- The faces of social inequality / Paul Nolte -- Civil society: desperate wishful thinking? / Herfried Münkler -- Transformations of German civil society: milieu change and community spirit / Hans Joas and Frank Adloff -- Civility, violence and civil society / Sven Reichardt -- Is there, or can there be, a 'European society'? / Claus Offe -- Social movements challenging neoliberal globalization / Dieter Rucht -- Entangled histories: civil society, caste solidarities and legal pluralism in post-colonial India / Shalini Randeria -- The temptations of unfreedom: Erasmus intellectuals in the age of totalitarianism / Ralf Dahrendorf -- Notes on contributors
Many of the thousands of Russians who protested against the Soviet system in 1990/91 are still around. In 2001, there were an estimated 200,000 nongovernmental organizations. However, like the civil society in general, they are contributing little to consolidate democracy. Questioned here is whether the public even constitutes a civil society, so little do they do to develop democratic institutions. This chapter analyzes the development of both Soviet & post-Soviet society in terms of their demonstration of independence from as opposed to obedience to the state. It is argued that, like political parties, they do not have a cultural precedent for civic action, nor do they have sufficient economic resources, since post-Soviet economic development in Russia has benefited only a few, who have no reason to change the status quo. The history of what might be called Russia's civil society is traced, & possibilities for change are suggested. J. Stanton
Now in its fourth edition, Civil Society has become a major work of reference for those who seek to understand the role of voluntary citizen action in a troubled world. Recent economic and political developments do not bode well for the theory and practice of civil society: communities are increasingly divided; inequality is on the rise; authoritarians and populists have gained a foothold even in advanced democracies; restrictions on freedom of speech and association are increasingly common and recent scandals have even reduced trust in charities. Worryingly, public spheres seem incapable of addressing these concerns. Yet, as Michael Edwards makes clear, ideas about the civil sphere can shed much light on what is happening, why, and how we might respond to polarization, privatization, and authoritarians of various stripes.
In this book, John Keane examines the causes of the worldwide re-popularisation of the term 'civil society'. The text traces its reappearance in a range of contexts and attempts to clarify the conflicting grammars and vocabularies of its language.