Civil Society : A Necessary Condition For Democratization

1136 WordsJun 27, 20165 Pages
Despite its role as a necessary condition for democratization, civil society only constitutes one half of the dichotomy of sociopolitical development; social capital represents the second half. The level of social capital, which occupies the role of currency used to invest in civil society, determines the efficacy and nature of civil society in a new democracy. In order to successfully transition to a democracy, three necessary conditions must be met: "the first condition of democracy today is that all citizens have the right to vote. Second, elections are competitive [as well as] free and fair. [...] Third, voters decide who holds the principal offices in government” (Haerpfer, 12). Additionally, social factors shape, and either act to…show more content…
One caveat, with regard to a transitioning state, concerns the prominence of demographic and class-based loyalties within civil society, which divide, rather than unify, a populace and undermines the democratization process. “[A]ny deficiencies in terms of liberal values and democratic predispositions are likely to be reflected and multiplied in the nature and activities of civil society” (Haerpfer, 165). Even with the presence of a strong civil society, the tribalism inherent to ‘bonding’ networks undermines the principles of liberal democracy (Haerpfer, [?]). Although a weak civil society may passively allow a new democratic regime to develop unencumbered by violent protest factions, adequate representation of the citizenry is not guaranteed. Strong civil society is preferred for democratization, with the stipulation that all demographics possess a degree of social capital. While a potential aid to the democratization process, an abundance of social capital may preclude democratization, depending on its nature. ‘Social capital’ represents “the links and connections among people that result in the creation of norms of cooperation and trust, and altogether constitute[s] a resource which individuals and communities can use for their
Open Document