1932

Abstract

Over the past decade, there has been a resurgence of interest and research into the connections between associations and democracy. This article divides the question of associative contributions to democracy into four component parts: What () contributions do () different kinds of associations make to advance () contesting ideals of democratic governance in various () political contexts? Associations enhance democracy in at least six ways: through the intrinsic value of associative life, fostering civic virtues and teaching political skills, offering resistance to power and checking government, improving the quality and equality of representation, facilitating public deliberation, and creating opportunities for citizens and groups to participate directly in governance. These contributions are not all mutually consonant with one another, and different forms of associations are better suited to advance some contributions than others. Furthermore, those who propose bolstering associations as a strategy for revitalizing democracy frequently have quite different ideals of democracy in mind. The forms and contributions of associations appropriate to three contesting notions of democratic governance—liberal minimalism, conventional representation-cum-administration, and participatory democracy—are also discussed. Finally, the democratic priority of associative contributions depends crucially on contextual features of particular societies. Under tyrannical regimes, for example, associations that resist government authority are more crucial than those that foster compliance and respect for political institutions.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100134
2003-08-01
2024-04-14
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100134
Loading
  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error