The Dubious Link by Ariel Armony
Civic Engagement and Democratization

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It is often argued that civic activity, such as the participation of average citizens in voluntary associations, benefits all democracies. But sometimes the involvement of citizens contributes to the collapse of democracy, the exclusion of minorities, and the deepening of society's fragmentation. This book challenges the idea of a positive, universal connection between civil society and democracy, and argues that the specific context in which people organize shapes the character of civil society.

The Dubious Link examines the "dark side" of civil society—the cases in which the participation of average citizens leads to undemocratic results. Combining a variety of research methods, Ariel Armony looks at the vital sphere of associational life in pre-Nazi Germany, anti-desegregation movements in the United States, and new organizations for human and civil rights in democratic Argentina. The book concludes with a statistical analysis of the impact of civil society on a set of contemporary democracies.


About Ariel Armony

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Ariel C. Armony is assistant professor of government at Colby College. He is the author of Argentina, the United States, and the Anti-Communist Crusade in Central America, 1977-1984 and coeditor of Repression, Resistance, and Democratic Transition in Central America.
Published June 2, 2004 by Stanford University Press. 312 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction