Hromadianske suspilstvo v starykh ta novykh derzhavakh-chlenakh YeS. Ideolohia, instytutsii ta prosuvannia demokratii
CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE OLD AND NEW MEMBER STATES. IDEOLOGY, INSTITUTIONS AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION
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The paper examines the significance of ‘civil society’ promotion as a component of the new modes of governance proposed within the EU and its member states. The concept of civil society has had different meanings and roles in the evolution of the old and post-communist new EU members. ‘Civil society’ is analyzed as a form of political coordination under capitalism; as a reform ideology in the process of opposition under communism; as a policy legitimizing democratisation; and as an ideological component of neo-liberalism in the enlargement of the European Union. The paper proposes a model distinguishing the different roles played by ‘civil society’ discourse in the transformation of state socialism. In the post-state socialist societies a process of democracy promotion has included the sponsorship of civil society. Analyzed empirically, significant differences are shown between the nature of civil society organizations in the old EU member states, new members and post socialist non members. These data indicate the important changes which have taken place in the new member states. However, in the context of the post-socialist states, in which traditional forms of government have been weakened, there are significant structural weaknesses in civil society organizations. It is shown that there is a serious deficiency with respect to the efficacy of civil society associations as agents in the democratizing process, as well as for the articulation and defence of community interests. It is argued that furthering ‘civil society’ forms of participation and management are a part of a neo-liberal economic and political agenda. It is concluded that strengthening democratic state forms of administration and coordination should be major policy concerns.
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