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NGOs are often used as a proxy for civil society, but this is an inadequate indicator.

The role of civil society in democratization processes | ERC: European Research Council

It is unclear not only exactly how civil society strengthens democracy, but also how NGOs might strengthen civil society. This project will inquire into the role of different kinds of NGOs within civil society and analyze what challenges the specific configuration of civil society constitutes for the consolidation of Post-Communist democracy in Latvia. Hence, the aim of this project is to provide a critical analysis of the relationship between NGOs, civil society and the consolidation of democracy.

Two major research questions will form the core of this project: How do different kinds of NGOs contribute to or hinder the development of civil society? How and under what conditions does civil society contribute to the consolidation of democracy? A disentanglement of the civil society concept — differentiating between various forms of civil society — is a central aspect of the research design.

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Latvia — with its recent history of massive civil society mobilisation during the struggle for independence, a rapid growth in the number of NGOs during the s, and a variety of ethno-political and exclusivist organisations — is particularly suitable for this kind of inquiry. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. One of the most striking features of the anglophone literature on NGOs is the diversity of NGO sectors and their contributions to civil society and democracy; yet, exploration of this complexity is often eschewed in favour of a normative approach in which the apparently mutually enhancing relationship between NGOs, civil society and the state is underpinned by liberal democratic assumption rather than an engagement with wider debates about the politics of development.

Following a critique of this approach to NGOs, civil society and democracy, the paper argues that the role of NGOs in the politics of development is far more complex than much of the NGO literature would suggest, and calls for a more contextualized and less value-laden approach to the understanding of the political role of NGOs. Skip to main content.

Civil Societies and Democratization

Progress in Development Studies. NGOs, civil society and democratization: Vol 2, Issue 1, pp. Download Citation If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Via Email All fields are required. Send me a copy Cancel. Request Permissions View permissions information for this article.


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Keywords civil society , democratization , development , neoliberalism , NGOs , state. Remember me Forgotten your password?

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