Larry diamond rethinking civil society

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Larry diamond rethinking civil society

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Toward Democratic Consolidation Larry Diamond bio In this third wave of global democratization, no phenomenon has more vividly captured the imagination of democratic scholars, observers, and activists alike than "civil society.

Could any sight be more awe-inspiring to democrats than the one they saw in Manila inwhen hundreds of thousands of organized and peaceful citizens surged into the streets to reclaim their stolen election and force Ferdinand Marcos out through nonviolent "people power"?

In fact, however, the overthrow of authoritarian regimes through popularly based and massively mobilized democratic opposition has not been the norm.

Most democratic transitions have been protracted and negotiated if not largely controlled from above by the exiting authoritarians. Yet even in such negotiated and controlled transitions, the stimulus for democratization, and particularly the pressure to complete the process, have typically come from the "resurrection of civil society," the restructuring of public space, and the mobilization of all manner of independent groups and grassroots movements.

Larry diamond rethinking civil society

Such images of popular [End Page 4] mobilization suffuse contemporary thinking about democratic change throughout Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa—and not without reason.

In South Korea, Taiwan, Chile, Poland, China, Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Benin to give only a partial listextensive mobilization of civil society was a crucial source of pressure for democratic change. It is now clear that to comprehend democratic change around the world, one must study civil society.

Yet such study often provides a one-dimensional and dangerously misleading view. The simplistic antinomy between state and civil society, locked in a zero-sum struggle, will not do.

We need to specify more precisely what civil society is and is not, and to identify its wide variations in form and character. We need to comprehend not only the multiple ways it can serve democracy, but also the tensions and contradictions it generates and may encompass.

We need to think about the features of civil society that are most likely to serve the development and consolidation of democracy. What Civil Society Is and Is Not Civil society is conceived here as the realm of organized social life that is voluntary, self-generating, largely self-supporting, autonomous from the state, and bound by a legal order or set of shared rules.

It is distinct from "society" in general in that it involves citizens acting collectively in a public sphere to express their interests, passions, and ideas, exchange information, achieve mutual goals, make demands on the state, and hold state officials accountable.

Civil society is an intermediary entity, standing between the private sphere and the state. Thus it excludes individual and family life, inward-looking group activity e. Actors in civil society need the protection of an institutionalized legal order to guard their autonomy and freedom of action.

Thus civil society not only restricts state power but legitimates state authority when that authority is based on the rule of law. When the state itself is lawless and contemptuous of individual and group [End Page You are not currently authenticated.

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Larry diamond rethinking civil society

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