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POLI 211 Berman - Civil Society Summary Notes
POLI 211 Berman - Civil Society Summary Notes

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 211
Fillippo Sabetti

Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic Sheri Berman 1997Thesis robust civil society actually contributed to the demise of the Weimar democracy contrary to neoTocquevillists due to structural weaknesses within the Weimars political institutions1Participation in associations did mobilize Germans for political participation just as neoTocquevilleans claim2However this weakened democracy3Nazis rose to power not by attracting alienated associationless Germans but by recruiting activists from these associations as well as affiliations with themNeoTocquevillean Theoriesconcept of mass society used to explain disintegration of democracy and the rise of totalitarianismdue to the lack of intermediate associations industrialization and modernity estranged citizens from one anotherallowed extremist movements to pluck up masses unrooted in any organizational structure civic communityfosters sturdy norms of generalized reciprocity and encourage emergence of social trust helps resolve dilemmas of collective actionsocial capitalinfluence and power wielded by participants that have broadened their sense of self from I to we essay will therefore set to test the theory and will show how it does not explain Weimarcounter a theory cannot be disproved by one case and Germanys development was influenced by a variety of factorsYes but Weimar has always been used as a testing ground neoTocquevilleans have always used this case to highlight associationism and it is the best case to test the reliability of the theory due to the healthy proliferation of associations Civil Society in Bismarckian and Wilhelmine Germany ththgrew rapidly late 18 early 19spurred by changes in the legal code breaking down of preindustrial corporate traditions and growing social wealth and diversification
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