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PSC 1001; Civil Society

by: Eleanor Parry

PSC 1001; Civil Society PSC 1001

Eleanor Parry
GPA 3.81

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About this Document

These notes cover the information from lecture 5 Civil Society.
Intro to Comparative Politics
Dr. Christopher Mitchell
Class Notes
Comparative Politics; Political Science; Civil Society
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Eleanor Parry on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1001 at George Washington University taught by Dr. Christopher Mitchell in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Intro to Comparative Politics in Political Science at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 02/12/16
Civil Society Defined • Network of associations independent of the state • Independent from family, clan, tribe Civil Society: Two Vision • CS I: fosters democratic habits/values ◦ Bird watchers ◦ Sports clubs ◦ Book clubs • CS II: site of resistance against tyranny ◦ Parties ◦ Unions ◦ NGOs ◦ Churches Civil Society 1 • A source of civic virtue and social capital ◦ A way to solve collective action problems • Promoted by: ◦ Alexis de Tocqueville ◦ Robert Putnam ◦ Al Gore Alexis de Tocqueville • Why does american democracy survive ad french democracy fail? ◦ Both established same time ◦ Both based in Enlightenment ideals ◦ Tocqueville goes to US to learn about France • Answer: Differences in Civil Society ◦ US has more active civil society than france Collective Action Problem • Public good has two parts ◦ Indivisible - all-or-nothing ◦ Non-Exclusive - can't keep out free-riders • Free-Rider Problem ◦ All want the good ◦ Everyone want someone else to pay • Examples ◦ Clean air, defense Why Do WeNeed Civil Society? • Democracy requires more than formal institutions ◦ Key ingredients: ‣ Civic engagement ‣ Values ‣ Trust Generating Social Capital • Social capital generated by engagement in non partisan horizontal networks ◦ In turn transmits values through society ◦ Establishing connection to a wider world • What sort of organizations matter? ◦ Need to be horizontal/non hierarchal ◦ Need to be non partisan From Social Capital to Democracy • Civil society, social capital make democracy work better ◦ Easier to organize make demands one state and solve problems without the states ◦ Less toxic political discourse • Economic advantages as well ◦ More willing to make deals Returning to US France • US has strong civil society ◦ Americans organize to solve own collective goods problems ◦ And pressure states collectively • 1800 France has weak civil society ◦ French rely on state to solve collective goods Civil Society I and Social Media • Social Media is a bad thing ◦ Isolation from neighbors ‣ Fewer cross cutting cleavages ◦ Echo Chamber effects ‣ Amplifies partisanship ‣ Limits exposure to alternate viewpoints • Social Media a Good thing ◦ New online communities ◦ Less isolating than TV or other passive old media Civil Society II • Unlike CS I explicitly political ◦ About promoting ideology • Hierarchal institutions included • Parties included • Non political groups not included Gramscian view of Civil Society • Rulers dominate not only through state ◦ But also through hegemonic role in society ◦ Defining what legitimate options are • Resistance must begin in society ◦ counter hegemonic groups ◦ source of political power/resistance CS II and the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe • Civil society a key site of resistance • In Poland: Churches, labor movement • Delegitimization • The Muslim Brotherhood Civil Society and Authoritarianism • Authoritarian Totalitarian Distinction ◦ A legacy of Cold War • Authoritarian state have Civil Society • Totalitarian states don't have independent Civil Society Civil Society II and Social Media • New opportunities ◦ Easier to spread counter hegemonic ideas ◦ Easier to organize behind anonymity ◦ Social Media Revolutions in Arab Spring, Iranian Green Revolution • Impact of Social Media Overhyped ◦ Uneven results from Social Media ◦ Success still requires old organizing and leadership • New opportunities for bad groups too ◦ Easier for terrorist and hate groups to organize and recurit Social Capital • Trust in people Civil Society I • Putnam ◦ Social groups ◦ Apolitical ◦ Inclusive - Cultivate Trust ◦ Leads to trust in state and democracy • Tocqueville ◦ Americans more socially engaged Civil Society II • Foley/Edwards ◦ counterweight to state ◦ can resist regime ◦ Political Parties/Unions


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