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POL354Y5 (11)
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Political Science

FEATURES OF CIVIL SOCIETY Realm of organized social life that is voluntary, self-generating, (largely) self-supporting, autonomous from the state, & bound by a legal order or set of shared rules. Involves citizens acting collectively in public sphere to express interests, passions, & ideas, exchange information, achieve mutual goals, make demands on state, & hold state officials accountable. Intermediary standing between private sphere & state. Restricts state power-- but legitimizes state authority when that authority is based on rule of law. ORGANIZATIONS CONSTITUTING CIVIL SOCIETY Economic (productive & commercial associations & n etworks); Cultural (religious, ethnic, communal, etc); Informational & educational (produce & disseminate public knowledge, ideas, news, information); Interest-based (advance or defend common interests of such members as workers, veterans, pensioners, professionals, etc); Developmental (combine individual resources to improve infrastructure, institutions, &quality of life of community); Issue-oriented (movements for environmental protection, women’s & minority rights, land reform, etc); Civic (nonpartisan improvement of polity through human rights monitoring, voter education & mobilization, anticorruption efforts, etc). ORGANIZATIONS OF CIVIL SOCIETY ARE DISTINGUISHED BY: 1. Concern with public ends. 2. Relation to state in seeking concessions, benefits, policy changes, relief, redress, accountability. 3. Encompassing pluralism & diversity. Do not seek to monopolize a functional or pol space in society, or claim to represent only legitimate path. 4. Partial, i.e., do not seek or claim to represent the whole of a person’s or community’s interests. 5. Do not seek direct political power (parties). FUNCTIONS OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN TRANSITIONAL & CONSOLIDATING DEMOCRACIES 1. Provide basis for limitation of state power, i.e., control of state by society by mobilizing civil society to expose abuses: a. Monitor & restrain exercise of power by state; b. Democratize authoritarian states. 2. Supplement role of parties in stimulating political participation, increasing efficacy & skill of citizens, promoting appreciation of obligations & rights of citizens. 3. Arena for development of other democratic attributes: tolerance, moderation, compromise, respect for opposing viewpoints. 4. Create channels other than parties for articulation, aggregation, & representation of interests, esp among minorities such as women, racial & ethnic groups. 5. Generate wide range of interests that cross-cut & mitigate principal polarities of conflict. 6. Recruiting & training political leaders. Learn such political skills as organization, mobilization, debating, fund raising, budget formation, agreement negotiation, coalition building. 7. Support democracy through nonpartisan election monitoring, support of judicial & legal reform, prison reform, etc. 8. Disseminate information aiding citizens in collective pursuit & defense of interests & values. 9. Disseminate new ideas & information. 10. Give citizens respect for the state & positive engagement with it, thus enhancing the state’s legitimacy. FEATURES OF A DEMOCRATIC CIVIL SOCIETY 1. Goals & methods of groups do not contain maximalist, uncompromising, antidemocratic components. 2. Interests
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