By Nancy Bermeo, Philip Nord, Alberto Banti, Valerie Bunce, Laura Engelstein, Thomas Ertman, Raymond Huard, Jan Kubik, Adrian Lyttleton, Robert Morris, Antonio Costa Pinto, Pedro Tavares de Almeida, Klaus Tenfelde

Bringing jointly historians and political scientists, this specified collaboration compares nineteenth-century civil societies that did not advance lasting democracies with civil societies that succeeded. a lot of the present literature at the connection among civil society and consolidating democracy focuses completely on unmarried, modern polities which are ever-changing and unsure. by way of learning ancient situations, the authors may be able to reveal which civil societies built in tandem with lasting democracies and which didn't. Contrasting those units of circumstances, the e-book either enlightens readers approximately person nations and extracts classes concerning the connections among civil society and democracy in modern occasions. chiefly, the authors ask the important yet under-researched query, OHow and why does democratic civil society develop?O

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In Italy, France, and Portugal, on the other hand, the Catholic Church resisted the advance of liberal, let alone democratic, institutions. But, it might be asked, should the contrast come as a surprise, given the opposed ecclesiologies of the two religions, Protestantism emphasizing congregational autonomy and self-governance, Catholicism sacerdotal authority and the principle of hierarchy? Such a conclusion contains an element of truth but is too one-sided. Two counterarguments come straightaway to mind.

Yet Europe before the Great War boasted just a handful of democratic states and none of them with pedigrees more than a few decades old. The point is all the more telling when the era’s definition of democracy, less exacting than our own, is kept in mind: representative government elected on the basis of universal manhood suffrage plus at least qualified legal guarantees of the three fundamental freedoms of speech, press, and association. On these terms, France alone among the Great Powers might qualify, joined by an array of smaller states, among them Belgium, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Skocpol worries first about the conservative political implications of neo-Tocquevillianism. In the late twentieth-century West, celebrations of society, of the self-reliance and creative potential of citizen activism, have time and again provided the rhetorical cover for assaults on the welfare state. And just how self-reliant and creative is civil society anyhow? Skocpol advances the claim that it is the state which first and foremost structures the terrain of associational life. Associational activity may be inspired from above in the interests of policy implementation.

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