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CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE ARAB WORLD… TOWARDS DEMOCRACY? 351 – Contemporary Politics of the Middle East Summer 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE ARAB WORLD… TOWARDS DEMOCRACY? 351 – Contemporary Politics of the Middle East Summer 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE ARAB WORLD… TOWARDS DEMOCRACY? 351 – Contemporary Politics of the Middle East Summer 2010

2 What is Society?  A system of social interaction that includes culture and social organization  Status (rank in society)  Role (expected behavior associated with a particular status  Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft  Primary and Secondary Associations

3 What is Civil Society?  Civil society as a set of organized groups/associations, whose members deliberate about social or political issues or act collectively to accomplish common goals.  “the place where a mélange of groups, associations, clubs, guilds, syndicates, federations, unions, parties, and groups come together to provide a buffer between state and citizen.”  Counterweight to the state

4 Source: Jan Kubik, Rutgers University, Comparative Proseminar

5 Two Examples of Civil Society (1)  Qat Chews in Yemen (Wedeen)  Public Sphere – where people congregate to discuss societal issues and transform discussion into political action  Educated populace, performances of knowledge, enlightened (and critical) debate  help people to develop attachments to the nation outside of the formal institutions of government  Pluralism & inclusivity, but hierarchy

6 Two Examples of Civil Society (2)  Dewaniya in Kuwait - place of receiving associates  Gathering place to facilitate discussion & deliberation about important issues, and build consensus  Similar to a ‘town hall’ meeting, but less formal and continuously taking place, and more social  Politics of deliberation, alliance formation, activism, and contention  Locus of pro-democracy movement in 1980s-90s  Locus of nationalist activism during Iraqi occupation  Political Campaigns

7 Characteristics of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)  Secondary group relations, not primary  Openness and inclusivity (public); civil in their behavior  Legally recognized  Produce dense networks of social relationship based on trust and reciprocity (social capital)  **Tolerant and moderate in their claims; Supportive of democratic reform

8 Networks  What is a network?  A complex set of relationships between individuals and organized groups of individuals  Generates feelings of solidarity  Collective “we” that is often sub-national  Reified by regular associations among individuals  Based on trust and continued associations  Strongest predictor of recruitment into activist organization?  knowing someone already involved

9 Web of Social Affiliations or Social Network Professional Family Romance Business Some Types of Ties

10 Some Types of CSOs (Yom reading)  Membership-based Professional Groups  Ex: Lawyer’s organizations (like Bar Association)  NGOs  Ex: Widows for Peace (micro-credit); Iraq Health Aid Organization (basic nursing skills); require registration  Public Interest Advocates – human rights, watchdogs, thinktanks, etc.  Unions  Ex: Labor Unions exist in most, if not all, Arab states  Regulated by gov’t (public funding; constrains activism)  Informal Social Groups and Networks  Iraqi Youth League in Jordan; Internat’l. Pal. Youth League

11 What is Democracy?  Minimalist (process) definitions  Substantive definitions (& preconditions)  "democracy is not attained simply by making institutional changes or through elite level maneuvering. Its survival depends also on the values and beliefs of ordinary citizens."  Civic Culture (Tessler on attitudes) Pride and emotional investment in the nation & pol. system Expectation of fair treatment from government authorities Relative freedoms of speech and expression about political issues Tolerance toward groups/parties/orgs you disagree with Valuing of active participation (in local government, parties, & civic associations) Self-confidence in one's competence to participate in politics Civic cooperation and trust Membership in a voluntary association  Social Capital

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