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POLS 2080 (26)
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Chapter Twelve Summary

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2080
Adam Sneyd

Chapter Twelve: Civil Society and Government Introduction  The idea of civil society is associated with democratization processes in the developing world  It is also associated with the provision of goods and services that were traditionally the preserve of the state  The civil society discourse reflects three different traditions: o Liberal Tradition: civil society as form of fostering democratic governance o Sociological tradition: civil society as a counter-hegemonic bloc of social forces o Developmental tradition: civil society as an agency for empowering and participatory development Civil Society: The Itinerary of a Concept  Civil Society: an intermediate realm between the state and the family, populated by organized groups or associations that have some autonomy in relation to the state and are formed voluntarily by members of society to advance their interests, values, or identities  UNDP and World Bank adopted this term as a way of incorporating the profit-oriented private sector into the development process  Civil society or non-governmental organizations are issue oriented, in opposition to social movements that are more concerned with changes in government policy and the class system behind it  Civil society organizations’ growth and strength is in correlation to the weakening of the welfare state resulting from globalization processes  Social organizations take three forms: o Associations (sharing an organizational objective) o Community based (held together by cultural bonds and a culture of solidarity) o Interest groups (pursuing economic or political power) Civil Society in Context  Social change can be analyzed using agency (strategies pursued), structure (the institutional practices that shape action), and context (what was happening when the change took place)  The emergence, growth, and strengthening of civil society is rooted in five contextual elements: o Globalization  Fostered the spread of transnational communities and ideas across the globe o Democratization  The spread of democracy in the past decades has changed the way civil society has operated  Civil society has largely focused on uprooting bad regimes and are breeding grounds for democratic forms of governance o Privatization o Decentralization  The World Bank and other institutions favoured an approach of local governments and civil society working in partnership with them o Economic liberalization The Economic and Political Dynamics of Development and Civil Society  From state-led development (late 1940s to early 1970s) to the crisis of capitalism in the 1970s to a new international division of labour to the new world order of globalization to, recently, the emergence of civil society organizations  The role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is the object of two interpretations: o NGOs as ‘false saviors of democracy’ o NGOs as a ‘Trojan horse of neo-liberal globalization’ The Emergence of a Global Civil Society: Anti-Globalization  Social movements in the Global South include indigenous communities, peasant farmers, and the rural landless, who have been the main victims of globalization  Traditional working classes’ capacity to fight back globalization has been diminished  Social movements in the North are middle class, urban based, and opposed to the agenda of corporate capital  The anti-globalization movement is not against globalization as such but against its neo-liberal form  The anti-
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