Civil Society in Comparative Perspective: Volume 26


Table of contents

(17 chapters)
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List of contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Pages xi-xiv
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Salamon and Anheier have developed a theory about civil society regimes to explain differences between groups of countries based on data from the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector project (Anheier & Salamon, 2006; Salamon & Anheier, 1998; Salamon, Sokolowski, & List, 2003). The purpose of the theory is to classify the countries into different groups in which different causal mechanisms are in operation. This echoes by and large Barrington Moore Jr.'s classification of countries according to their “routes to the modern world” (Moore, 1966) and Esping-Andersen's three welfare “regimes” (Esping-Andersen, 1990; Esping-Andersen, 1999). The assumption is that there is no single factor that can explain the size and composition of the nonprofit sector in different countries, in contrast to the economic theories of nonprofit organizations. Instead, complex relations exist between, on the one hand, social forces such as the working class, the landed and urban elites, the peasantry, and external powers, and on the other hand, social institutions like the state and the church. As a consequence, countries cluster into four types, social democratic, corporatist, statist, and liberal models, according to size of public welfare spending and scale of the nonprofit sector. The theory is used to explain current patterns in nonprofit sector size and composition when it comes to employment, revenue, expenditures, and volunteering. That means comparing only a few variables for a large number of countries.

The theoretical approach of the five clusters relies on the distinction of the three welfare state regimes proposed by Esping-Andersen (1990, 1999) (Esping-Andersen, Gallie, Hemerijck, & Myles, 2003). Indeed, Europe as a whole provides the highest level of social protection and the widest “decommodification” of this social protection. Therefore, the bulk of nonprofit organizations – not only those providing education, health, and social services – cannot be understood without a reference to the kind of welfare state that shaped the whole modern society. The change or crisis of the welfare state over time gives indeed new opportunities to the third sector. We refer also to the social origins theory (Salamon et al., 2004), more global and complex, and try to make this theory more specific in the European Union. Empirical data are numerous because 16 countries over 27 were included in the second phase of the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Sector Comparative project (CNP2; Salamon et al., 2004). Exchanges among European researchers complete more qualitatively these figures (Salamon et al., 1997).

Over the past few decades, the subject of governance has come to the fore in many public discussions, notably with regard to reforms of the social protection system. Without entering into various debates the concept has generated, we shall use it in its positive sense (Gilly, Leroux, & Wallet, 2004), to designate all of the interactions between various public and private actors in the elaboration and implementation of public policies to attain shared objectives of general interest (Enjolras, 2008; Le Galès, 1998). Governance thus reflects a change in the forms of collective action – which certainly would qualify as modernisation – and the growing importance granted to management strategies in this change. It also brings out the complexity of the interrelationships between the different levels of decision-making (horizontal and vertical), which might be characterised as ‘poly-governance’ (Eme, 2005). And governance also permits a simultaneous approach to the new territorial, productive and partnership arrangements emerging in response to the different levels of constraints and socio-demographic changes. These issues lie at the heart of the transformations of the welfare state and related policies for rationalising public intervention and stabilising public finances. Studies dealing with welfare mix and welfare pluralism (Evers & Svetlik, 1993; Esping-Andersen, 1999; Ascoli & Ranci, 2002; Pestoff, 2006; Richez-Battesti, 2008) bring out different ways of combining sources of risk protection or other forms of solidarity. Such research reinforces analyses of co-ordination, as well as those of management and decision-making.

In the shift from government to governance the possibility of an increased role or roles for third sector actors becomes greater. In addition, the potential for different roles also increases. In public governance, for example, third sector civil society actors1 can adopt an advocacy and campaigning role or a partnership role. This chapter seeks to understand public governance roles of Irish third sector organisations compared to those in South Africa inspired by the work of Habib (2008, 2007a, 2007b) which draws attention to the concept of substantive uncertainty. Substantive uncertainty, Habib says, is a necessary condition for democratic functioning and refers to uncertainty of outcomes in political processes. In other words, the ability to challenge elites and facilitate the dispersal of power, so that space for opposition is engendered, is the essence of democracy. Because substantive uncertainty involves this uncertainty of outcomes it challenges hegemony therefore, Habib says. Yet, he notes, the political literature has not paid a lot of attention to this concept.

In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the move from government to governance has been well documented (Stoker, 1998; Rhodes, 1996, 1997). In the global North, governance is understood as a response to complexity and a recognition that many problems cannot be solved by government alone, whereas in democracies across the North and South, there is a concern to address the democratic deficit and [re]legitimize the state. In both contexts, new governance spaces and opportunities have emerged for non-governmental actors to engage in the process. Interest in community or “third sector” participation has spread around the globe, albeit with very different expressions in different contexts, and in many cases at the insistence of international financial institutions. Deacon (2007, p. 15) describes such global trends as “the contested terrain of emerging global governance” in which he includes both international non-governmental organizations and transnational social movements. Although this shift represents new opportunities, the extent to which the spaces for participation offer a new vision of the public domain is contested (Fung & Wright, 2003; Cornwall & Coelho, 2007).

Social origins theory proposes that countries cluster around different models according to how public welfare spending affects nonprofit sector scale (Anheier & Salamon, 2006; Salamon & Anheier, 1998). This article confronts these assumptions about a liberal, corporatist, and social democratic model with results from a comparative analysis of highly industrialized countries with extensive welfare arrangements. We focus on nonprofit sector employment in relation to total employment in the welfare field, including education and research, health, and social services. Explanatory factors are public welfare spending, share of income from donations, and religious homogeneity. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) (Ragin, 2000) is applied to sort countries in types. The results show that the consequences of public sector welfare spending on nonprofit welfare employment vary depending on other social conditions. In liberal countries, low public sector welfare spending results in a small nonprofit share of employment. The preconditions are low religious homogeneity and large shares of nonprofit income from donations. In other Western European countries, the size of public sector welfare spending is inversely proportional with the size of the nonprofit share of employment, depending on religious homogeneity. The Nordic countries have the highest religious homogeneity, and largest public welfare costs, and accordingly, the smallest share of nonprofit welfare services. However, a similar “crowding out” pattern can be found in the presumably corporatist countries such as France, Austria, and also to some extent in Germany and Italy. In the other end of the line, we find the Netherlands, which is the clearest example of the presumed corporatist pattern in this sample. Religious homogeneity comes into play in both the liberal and the Western European causal constellation in accordance with Weisbrod's theory of government failure/market failure (Weisbrod, 1977), which indicates that this factor is more important for nonprofit welfare regimes than previously thought.

The objective of this paper is to compare the advocacy role of civil society organizations in the United States and Brazil. We conducted an exploratory case study of three peak organizations that engage in public policy advocacy as part of their strategies. We analyze how they advocate and the role this form of action plays within different democratic contexts that assume public discussion and deliberation, by citizens, about matters relevant to them, such as the formulation, execution, and monitoring of public policy. The study concludes that the policy advocacy role of civil society organizations strengthens internal and external democratic processes by bringing for the deliberation process in the public sphere organizations that represent different groups in society. However, this process also poses some risks and challenges that shall be taken into consideration.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) contribute essentially to welfare states and society. In Europe they play a key role in the provision of social services, but also fulfil a large variety of other functions, such as giving voice to unaddressed issues, offering alternative ways of occupational socialisation or facilitating social inclusion (cf. Kramer, 1981; Rose-Ackerman & James, 1986; Kendall, 2003). Current research suggests that the third sectors’ societal roles considerably vary between countries, depending on the welfare state they are embedded in: Starting with a revision of Esping-Andersen's welfare regime typology (1990) and also based on the earlier work of Moore (1966), Salamon and his colleagues developed a typology of four different ‘non-profit regimes’ (Salamon & Anheier, 1998; Salamon, Hems, & Chinnock, 2000a). As key dimensions for this classification, they applied the extent of governmental welfare spending and the size of the third sector (cf. Johnson, 1999). According to this typology of nonprofit regimes, in countries with a large third-sector CSOs mainly fulfil the service function. Countries with a relatively small third sector, so the implicit conclusion, would tend to engage in ‘the expression of political, social, or even recreational interests’ (Salamon & Anheier, 1998, p. 229).

The evolution of European Union (EU) toward a real political integration cannot omit the importance of building a European civic culture. Generating civic virtues is directly linked to the establishment of associative networks. In this sense, voluntary organizations, as “schools of democracy,” work as one of the main channels and mechanisms, from liberal tradition as well as republican one, to improve the quality of democracies.

Some works have already argued that involvement in voluntary organizations presents positive effects on several elements that shape political culture in a country, by increasing political interest in public affairs, growing individual political efficacy, encouraging people to put in practice a broader socio-political activism, etc. Only by this way, it is possible to create a genuine “European public sphere,” where public debate and independent judgements can exist beyond EU institutions.

From that theoretic framework, this document expounds the connections between socio-political participation in voluntary organizations and some elements of political culture linked to civic skills. The first wave of the European Social Survey (2002–2003) will be used as the main data source for a comparative analysis among more than twenty European countries.

The issue of citizens’ participation in civil society in Europe is perceived as crucial for the democratization and the legitimacy of the European Union (EU) as well as for the development of a European identity. There are at least three reasons for the increasing attention devoted to the role played by civil society in the European integration process (Rumford, 2003). Firstly, by providing knowledge and plural inputs in decision-making processes, civil society is a necessary component in efficient and “good” governance. Secondly, civil society demarcates the space for the enactment of citizenship rights and participation (the turn from formal citizenship to citizenship practice). This is essential since the notion of a European citizenship requires, in addition to a set of formal rights and obligations, a public space for active participation by the citizens beyond the arenas offered by the nation-state. Thirdly, civil society can serve as a source of legitimacy, possibly reducing the much-debated democratic deficit of the EU. The rather imprecise term “democratic deficit” encompasses issues such as the lack of democratic anchorage of EU institutions and decisions as well as the gap between policy-makers and citizens. Hence, the belief that to reduce the democratic deficit, the EU democratic institutions have to become more accountable to its citizen and that European citizens need to get a sense of “ownership” of the EU democratic institutions.

Civil society-based institutions have had a significant historical impact in Europe on the one hand in formation of modern notions of the nation and on the creation of national identity and on the other hand in definition of citizenship rights and understanding of the democratic culture. If support for citizenship rights through civil society organizations – at the workplace and in public institutions – is weakly articulated, it creates a fragile democratic culture and, consequently, less comprehensive social protection. The possibility of civil society becoming a locus for democratic learning, political reflexivity and governance depends, firstly, on its specific institutional mechanisms and, secondly, on the broader institutional configuration, which civil society forms part of.

Tocqueville's theory emerged from a social movement–infested society rather than from the rather bucolic and static American democracy that he sometimes portrays. And while Putnam (2001) and others try to resurrect this cooperative view of society using the concept of social capital, this approach is inadequate to explain major changes in society and, indeed, only repeats power resources theory with a different linguistic cloak.

Publication date
Book series
Comparative Social Research
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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