Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic -...

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Unformatted text preview: Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic- Tocqueville’s Civil Society o Crucial to making democracy work o Plays a key role in driving political, social and economic outcomes o Helped bring about the downfall of Weimar Germany- Tocque believed that assosiation helped demoracy flourished o However, high levels of assosiation, absent strong and reponsbive national government/political parties, only fragmented German society. o Highly mobilized public and low level of political institutionalizaton only led to instability, disorder and violence. o Active public without political insitutions = trouble- “Mass Society” o Theory for disintegration of democracy and rise of totalitarianism – assosiations broke down leading to war Argued that industralization and modernity estranged citizens from each other, leaving them rootless and searching for ways of belonging. Without rooting, masses were avaible for extremist movements. Hitler’s supporters were only alienated inidvidulas who lacked a wide range of assoscational memberships and saw his party as a way of integrating Empirical evidence does not support this theory- Putnam o Assosiatism is an indicator of healthy democracy and a pre-requisite for it Civic community + social capital- Why bother with with Weimare Republic? o Crucial theoretical testing gorund for any disintegration of democracy. Every thoeyr should pass this test o Neo-Toquevillians site this case as impact of assiosations o Both US + Germany were bastions of assosianitonism- Weber o Assosiantionism in Germany (unlike UK + US) does not necessarily translate into responsible citizenship, much less liberal or democratic views. Only a good citizen in the passive sense of the word. o Vereinsmeierei: German associational fetishism- Growth of assiotionism o 1848: Spurred by changes in legal code, breakdown of preindustrial corporate traditions and growing social wealth, dense network of private voluntary associate spreads. o 1871: New German Reich grants universal sufferage which encourages a large variety of groups to become more political active. Great Depression + debate over protectionism = debate over two key groups within Germany. Agriculture vs Industry o 1890: Bismark can no longer hold together the numerous groups of Germany “iron and rye” and has trouble containing the numberous contradictions within German society. Lower and middle classes become more political involved. Voter participation up to 75%. Posed a challenge to established political parties like National Liberals. Most political parties had little formal organization up until election time. They were generally weak and did little Grotwh of civic assosiations during times of strain. Under these circumstances, assosaitions did not bind people together but only further the divides between groups....
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2011 for the course POLI 211 taught by Professor Sabetti during the Fall '08 term at McGill.

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Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic -...

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