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Title: The role of civil society in political development : the Indonesian experience.
Authors: Guild, James.
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: This thesis aims to articulate the role of civil society in creating pressure for and sustaining the development of political systems and institutions. One needs only to look to the uncertain political fortune of the nascent democracy in Egypt, the failed democratic experiments in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fragile state of electoral democracy in Kenya to realize that it is still unclear why some states embrace pluralism and democracy, while others flounder when exposed to them. The relevance of the research puzzle posed in this thesis is that it provides additional insight on the role of civil society in this process, and delineates the functional as well as normative role of civil society in producing and sustaining political change.The thesis posits that the influence of civil society is highest during the political transition phase, when disparate social forces join together to demand reforms. After the revolutionary fervor fades, vested interests are likely to try to reclaim their hold on power by reducing democratic space and marginalizing civil society and undercutting due process. A strong civil society, one which is capable of performing the normative function of inculcating society with a strong sense of civic virtue, is likely to be more effective at sustaining democratic momentum in the post-transition phase by acting to constrain the power of elites and other vested interests. The role of civil society is therefore multidimensional and complex, playing both a normative and structural role in the process of political development. A further subtext of this thesis is that it is essential that the development of political systems be rooted in the unique social and cultural conditions of the people over which they intend to wield power. Attempts to democratize that ignore the contextual nature of political development and attempt to appeal to a universal ideal or template will likely not be successful.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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