Beyond Tocqueville: Civil Society and the Social Capital Debate in Comparative Perspective
Bob Edwards, Michael W Foley, Ph., Michael W. Foley, Mario Diani
UPNE, 2001 - Political Science - 340 pages
Recent discussion about the role of civil society in democratic governance around the world and the decline of social capital in the US has raised pressing theoretical and empirical questions about the character of contemporary societies and the social and institutional correlates of sound and dynamic democracies. This debate has reached a North American and European audience that extends well beyond academia.
The predominant refrain in the debate, following Alexis de Tocqueville's 160-year-old analysis of democracy in America, attaches tremendous importance to the role of voluntary associations in contemporary democracies. Participation in such groups is said to produce social capital, often linked to high levels of social trust. Social capital in turn is conceived as a crucial national resource for promoting collective action for the common good.
Beyond Tocqueville presents 21 varied essays on how civic engagement and political and economic cooperation are generated in contemporary societies, linking theoretical discourse with public policy and actual behaviors.
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activists actors African Americans analysis antimodern argue behavior campaign Cannon Central Charles Cannon church cial citizens City Council civic engagement civil society civil society activity Coleman collective action community organizing concept conflict cooperation COPS crucial cultural democracy democratic diversity economic effective elite example face-to-face facilitate Foley and Edwards form of social formal organizations ganizations global groups Hispanic identity impact important individuals infrastructures interaction Kannapolis leaders Mario Diani mass society membership ment mobilization national social movement neighborhood associations neo-Tocquevillean nomic norms organizational percent Pillowtex political capital political institutions produce Putnam racial relations relationships religious represent respondents Robert Putnam role Russians San Antonio sector sense of community social and political social capital social movement organizations social networks social structures social trust tional tions Tocqueville Tocqueville's transnational TSMOs types union variables voluntary associations workers youth