With the progressive end of the Cold War in the 1980's and the fall of the Eastern Block coincided the multiplication of the number of countries adopting a democratic form of government, an event described as the third wave of democratization by Samuel Huntington in his eponymous 1991 work. In the studies of this said third wave, no phenomenon has received as much attention from contemporary scholars, observers, and activists alike as "civil society" and its role, capturing their imagination, suffusing their thinking. While most of the recent democratization processes were the results of negotiations and protractions, with often a sizeable control retained by the resigning authoritarian coalition during and after it (and that is why most transition studies have focused on elite processes), the progressive reopening of the public space resulting from a prior and/or parallel liberalization allowed for previously excluded actors to make a comeback, known as the resurrection of civil society (O'Donnell, Schmitter, 1986).
These actors participate in the latter's restructuration, and begin mobilizing various segments of society around common causes to push for a further completion of the process, such as with the Diretas Ja! demonstrations in Brazil in 1983-1984 demanding direct elections, or against its impedance, as was the case in the Philippines in 1983-86, where the People Power's civil resistance successfully opposed the fraud by incumbent Ferdinand Marcos and ousting him out after 21 years of authoritarian rule.
[...] Finally, many organizations attempt to act and develop techniques to mediate and solve conflicts within a national society, which is especially crucial in young democracies, where political, ethnic, social frustrations can potentially lead to violent confrontation. By building itself a reputation of integrity of principles and of political neutrality, such organizations acquire a substantial reserve of moral authority that would prove invaluable should a grave political crisis arise (secessionism, threats of a new coup ) In the end, as a result of all the previous set of functions that it fulfills in the transition and consolidation of democracy in previously authoritarian regimes and societies, civil society contributes in making the State more legitimate and more able to govern. [...]
[...] While monitoring of the political society is indeed a primordial role, civil society also needs to produce and develop a democratic project for the national society it is part of, not only for the elites, but also for citizens. At the level of the mass public, democracy can be implemented and consolidated if a majority of the people believes the best form of government and only game in town” (Linz, Stepan, 1996). In young democracies, this belief is unevenly supported in the public mind, and even highly criticized. [...]
[...] In parallel, by bringing a great diversity of interests and people together and encouraging collective to deal with certain issues, it may, as Diamond stated multiply the capacities of groups to improve their own welfare, independently of the state, especially at the local level.”(1997, effectively relieving some of the burden placed upon the State and making politics yet clearer, more effective and more efficient. Bibliography: -Diamond, Larry Civil Society and the Development of Democracy: Towards Democratic Consolidation, (working paper), 36-55. -Linz, Juan and Stepan, Alfred Problems of Democratic Transition: Southern Europe, South America and Post-Communist Europe. Baltimore and London: John Hopkins University Press. -O'Donnell, Guillermo, Philippe Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead, eds Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy. [...]
[...] Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. - Putnam, Robert, Robert Leonardi and Raffaella Y. Nanetti Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton: Princeton University Press. [...]
[...] What role does civil society play in democratization? With the progressive end of the Cold War in the 1980's and the fall of the Eastern Block coincided the multiplication of the number of countries adopting a democratic form of government, an event described as the “third wave” of democratization by Samuel Huntington in his eponymous 1991 work. In the studies of this said third wave, no phenomenon has received as much attention from contemporary scholars, observers, and activists alike as "civil society" and its role, capturing their imagination, suffusing their thinking. [...]
using our reader.