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Civil Society, Democracy and Democratization


Dorota Pietrzyk-Reeves

The book contributes to the ongoing discussion and research on civil society in the context of democracy and democratization. It provides a theoretical analysis of civil society, participation, the public sphere and democratic consolidation in light of normative democratic theory and the challenges of democratic transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. It also offers a novel approach to some of the key issues in that debate including corruption and democratic consolidation, active citizenship, civic unity and the rule of law as well as theories of democratization. Finally, it asks the question as to whether a properly functioning democracy must be complemented with civil society and the numerous roles it plays in a political community of free citizens.
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3. Democracy, Democratization and the Importance of Civil Society47


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Chapter 3 Democracy, Democratization and the Importance of Civil Society

This and several other chapters examine the challenges and obstacles that arise for a more participatory model of democracy and democratic citizenship which has been advocated by normative democratic theory of recent years and all those who are concerned with the conditions of civil society in democracy. On a more empirical level, a lesson is drawn from the processes of democratization in post-communist countries, including Ukraine most recently, which indicates that citizens often play a pivotal role in bringing democracy in, but after the establishment of democratic structures their role is somehow marginalized. At the same time both policy-makers and political scientists put a great deal of emphasis on the importance of the development and flourishing of civil societies for successful democratic performance. I argue that what looks like one of the biggest paradoxes of democracy is one of the major problems of today’s representative government. If citizens want to do something for democracy they need to regain their influence over the public sphere. This poses again the question of the nature and scope of such influence.

In what follows I shall argue that the development of civil society and the democratization of the social and political spheres should be seen as a mutual process leading to political and economic stability. The actual experience of post-communist societies in East-Central Europe that are attempting liberalization and democratization shows that this mutual process needs a...

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