Chapter 12 Lecture Notes

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Political Science
POLI 100
Christopher Erickson

CHAPTER 12 LECTURE NOTES Civil SocietyCivil society has been defined by Robertson 1993 as the framework within which those without political authority live their liveseconomic relationships family and kinship structures religious institutions and so on It is puretly analytic concept because civil society does not exist independently of political authority nor vice versa and it is generally believed neither could long continue without the other therefore no very clear boundary can be drawn between the twoNevertheless the term has been used with increasing frequency in recent years in political debate as well as in academia The Rise of Civil Society th Although originally used in the late 18 century the term civil society has become more popular recently because of its perceived role in effecting political change in a number of statesTypically these were countries where opposition parties were suppressed and at times of regime crisis ordinary people rose up on spontaneous protestIe Philippines 1986 South Korea 1987 an end to Communism in Eastern Europe by 1991In other countries there was a greater emphasis on voluntary movements rather than state agencies and providers of various servicesThe 1990s saw the rise of nongovernmental organisations like charities as dispensers of air in developing countriesProblems with the term civil societyDespite the rise of civil society in the 1990s the term is still controversialCommentators disagreed for example over the extent to which civil society was supposed to represent goals held in common o What differentiates mob mentality from thisThe extent to which it was committed to altruistic goals And whether or not it could include criminal groups like the mafiaThe term was also difficult to translate into some languages and in some Islamic states it was associated with an encroaching tide of WesternisationIn some Eastern European states the popularity of the term has faded in the aftermath of the largely peaceful revolutions which toppled CommunismsPotential reemergence with the Arab Spring
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