soc 170 civil society

soc 170 civil society - Importance of civil society to...

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Importance of civil society to Putnam Pg 377- “. . wide range of empirical evidence that the quality of public life and the performance of social instutitoons…are indeed powerfully influenced by norms and newtowrks of civic engagement”. - Putnam- Bowling Alone o Basic claim: There has been a decline in civil societies since the 1960s o Bowling Alone- More people are bowling more than ever before, but people are bowling less and less. People are becoming more autonomous away from associations Pg 378 - “ By almost every measure, Americans’ direct engagement in politics and governemtn has fallen steadily and sharply over the last genernation, despite the fact that average levels of education- the best individual level predictor of political particpaiton- have rise sharply thoughout this period….every eyar over the last decarde or two, millions more have withdrawn from the affiras of their communities” o What has really changed though? According to Putnam. Decline in people’s memberships in civil associations (i.e. Fraternal order- Masons, PTA, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, etc.) Pg 379- talks about religious groups, labor unions, PTA, civic and greaternal organizations o “I would seem, then, that net participation by Americans, both in religious services and in church related groups, ahs declined modestly since the 1960s” o “The solidarity of union halls is now mostly a fading memory of aging men” o “Next we turn to evidencne on membership in (and volunterring for) civic and graternal organization. These dara show striking patterns…has declined more or less teadily since the mid 1960s” o If there really is there a decline in these associations and society, what is the significance? Has an impact on democracy- endangers it Social capital- decline in social capital Crucial for him Social capital is (pg 378 second paragraph)- “social sceitntists in several fields recently suggested a common framework….” “Social capital refers to features of social organizations such as networks, norms and social trust that facilitate mutual cooperation for social benefit” o Lower membership leads to no civil society, thus meaning no social capital, which has created a “less trusting” America
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Social capital is created from civil society It is the experience of social engagement that produces civil society How is civil society crucial for democracy? Much like Tocqueville, it is within these civil scoeitiies produces civil engagement that spills over to political engagement Civil societies produes social connections/trust/norms (social capital) that are essential for democracy (ie Tocqueville’s habits of the heart) Civil society acts as a buffer between state and family. Sees civil society as the protection against despotism of the state (too much state power) In a civil society, it is central because it teaches people to think collectively- creating a sense of collective interest. Without it,t
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soc 170 civil society - Importance of civil society to...

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