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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

François Lépineux

Stakeholder theory is a “weak” theory, which suffers from a number of flaws. This article is based on the intuition that many of these problems are linked together, and…

Abstract

Stakeholder theory is a “weak” theory, which suffers from a number of flaws. This article is based on the intuition that many of these problems are linked together, and that they are fundamentally due to the fact that stakeholder theory fails to appreciate the place of civil society as a stakeholder. It starts with an examination of the confusing status of society in stakeholder theory, and suggests that civil society should be on top of the stakeholder list. It then underlines the emergence of a global society, distinct from national societies. An extended classification system is presented, which comprises a binary categorization, an intermediate taxonomy, and a developed typology; this system is illustrated in the form of a mapping. The article then addresses the issue of the theory’s normative underpinnings: the concept of social cohesion is proposed as an alternative justification. The meaning of this concept is specified, and its relevance as a normative foundation is justified. Eventually, this reinterpretation of stakeholder theory, which emphasizes the importance of civil society and social cohesion, provides some rationales for the connection of its empirical and normative streams – thus rendering it more consistent and more robust.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1997

Eric Magnuson

Approaches to the sociology of culture have largely been constituted around the long tradition of functionalism in sociology. This has hampered the field greatly. Among…

Abstract

Approaches to the sociology of culture have largely been constituted around the long tradition of functionalism in sociology. This has hampered the field greatly. Among other shortcomings, this intellectual foundation has led to a limited understanding of ideology and civil society, a conservative political orientation and an overdeterministic view of social action and the actor. In this paper, I explore and then apply a new approach to the sociology of culture, one that attempts to conceptualize more robustly the dynamics of ideology, ideological conflict and civil society. As part of this project, I endeavor to map out a critical cultural perspective that establishes a multidimensional understanding of the contingency of social action.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 22 November 2016

Andrew Buchwalter

An assessment of Axel Honneth’s reception and appropriation of Hegel’s theory of normative reconstruction as presented in his Freedom’s Right (Columbia University Press, 2014).

Abstract

Purpose

An assessment of Axel Honneth’s reception and appropriation of Hegel’s theory of normative reconstruction as presented in his Freedom’s Right (Columbia University Press, 2014).

Methodology/approach

A comparative assessment of Honneth’s and Hegel’s approach to normative reconstruction focusing on three basic issues: general methodology, understandings of the logic and program of the Philosophy of Right, and analyses and assessments of modern market societies as detailed in Hegel’s account of civil society (bürgerliche Gesellschaft).

Findings

For Honneth, normative reconstruction consists in reworking modes of social rationality already realized in modern institutions. By contrast, Hegel is shown to advance an approach to reconstruction in which an account of social rationality is properly fashioned only in the reconstruction process itself. In this way Hegel is also shown to proffer an approach to normative reconstruction that is at once more robustly reconstructive and more robustly normative than is the case with Honneth.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates the ongoing value of Hegel’s thought for social and political theory. It illuminates Hegel’s uniquely dialectical approach to immanent social critique, dedicated not only to explicating existing tensions and “bifurcations” (Entzweiungen) but – with the help of a distinctive account of Bildung (cultivation or formation) – to engaging those tensions and bifurcations in order to delineate the conditions for their constructive supersession. It also elucidates different ways in which critical social theorists, committed to notions of “immanent transcendence,” draw on the resources of market societies to mount normative challenges to the aporias of those societies.

Details

Reconstructing Social Theory, History and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-469-3

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Book part
Publication date: 24 July 2020

Nelson M. Nkhoma

Faculty members at public universities in different disciplines view civil society differently as they perform their function of creating partnerships with society. This…

Abstract

Faculty members at public universities in different disciplines view civil society differently as they perform their function of creating partnerships with society. This chapter draws evidence from faculty members in public universities from one African country – Malawi. Drawing from Derrida’s (1978) concept of difference and West’s (1993) views of social theory, the chapter examines three approaches to community engagement (CE) with civil society. It concludes that the growing demands to attain difference in CE have resulted in oversupply of approaches that are often pitied against each other; hence, the hierarchies obscure the work CE is achieving.

Details

University–Community Partnerships for Promoting Social Responsibility in Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-439-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

Adam Smith, it is generally acknowledged, founded the modern discipline of political economy with the study entitled An Inquiry into The Wealth of Nations (1776) which he…

Abstract

Adam Smith, it is generally acknowledged, founded the modern discipline of political economy with the study entitled An Inquiry into The Wealth of Nations (1776) which he built upon the ethical system he presumed to exist in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Ricardo took Smith's observations somewhat further with his publication of On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). When John Stuart Mill wrote his Principles of Political Economy in 1848, his considerations of economic processes were intimately connected with the political. By the time Marx published Das Kapital as a critique of political economy in 1867 the term was entrenched in both academic life and in common parlance and political circles. The study of economics was an integral part of the study of the state. Ironically, however, political economy was about to be upstaged by the development of economics as a separate and positivist discipline. William Stanley Jevons had published his “Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy” in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society in the previous year. This was much more widely read at the time than Das Kapital. By 1890, Alfred Marshall had published his Principles of Economics. The book began with these words: “Political economy or economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life.” The great tradition of seeing economics as an integral part of politics and vice versa was disappearing. However, though economists were anxious to convert that part of political economy known as economics and see it as a scientific discipline, the reality, that is the integrated nature of the state and the economy, remained. Simply because certain ideologues decided to separate politics from economics did not mean that the state in any sense disentangled itself from the economy or the economy from the state.

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Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

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Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2011

Rosario Laratta

This very interesting chapter written by Delalieux and Kourula raises two important questions: (1) Why do the categories of civil society, so co-opted by neoliberal…

Abstract

This very interesting chapter written by Delalieux and Kourula raises two important questions: (1) Why do the categories of civil society, so co-opted by neoliberal ideology, attract the aspiration of radical democracy and anticapitalist movements? (2) How can partnerships between nongovernmental organizations (civil society) and multinational corporations (market) mitigate the worst effects of economic liberalism? The authors argue that (a) the concept of civil society in Enlightenment thought is sometimes significantly different from its use in contemporary civil society theorizing – even though the latter speaks in the name of the former; (b) the results of civil society actions in correcting the market are limited in time, space, and resources; and that (c) the contemporary critics of the state are forming a powerful coalition that is demonizing the state in a way that is preventing public regulation from developing. Those powerful conclusions should make everyone rethink critically the importance of each sector as well as the relationship between sectors.

Details

The Third Sector
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-281-4

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Book part
Publication date: 16 November 2009

Bernard Enjolras and Karl Henrik Sivesind

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

Civil Society in Comparative Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-608-3

Abstract

Details

Documents from the History of Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1423-2

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Article
Publication date: 23 February 2010

Alberto Martinelli and Atle Midttun

This paper seeks to take stock of core arguments in some of the most central governance traditions and to discuss their capacity to deliver solutions. It starts with an

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to take stock of core arguments in some of the most central governance traditions and to discuss their capacity to deliver solutions. It starts with an appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas of market‐, state‐ and civilsociety‐led governance, but also factors in the effect of media and communication as governance arenas in their own right. Then it aims to review core arguments put forward in broader approaches to governance where multiple governance mechanisms are combined.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper that reviews central approaches in the governance literature and their ability to further sustainable development. The review is taken as a basis for tentative formulations of new supplementary governance approaches.

Findings

Out of the critical analysis the paper distils is an approach to governance that combines three basic elements: First, a re‐interpretation of Montesquieu's principle of checks and balances – applied not only to state institutions, but also to the interplay between the state, markets and civil society. Second, an argument for polyarchic, multilevel governance, where flexible institutional frameworks, at various levels of aggregation, allow actors to jointly engage in developing governance. Third, it argues that open communication may constitute an important governance element. It ends by recognising that global governance, going forward, will include a mix of parallel governance models, in some ways competing for hegemony, but supporting one another in other ways.

Originality/value

The originality/value of the paper lies in its critical assessment of central current governance theories and in its launch of new supplementary governance approaches.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Albert Arko‐cobbah

To demonstrate that “civil society” is an important aspect of the democratic process, providing a vital link between the citizens and the state. One of the principal…

Abstract

Purpose

To demonstrate that “civil society” is an important aspect of the democratic process, providing a vital link between the citizens and the state. One of the principal functions of civil society is to maintain a watchful eye on the activities of public officials. Public libraries play an essential role in fulfilling in this regard.

Design/methodology/approach

An examination of the philosophy of civil society and governance, with accompanying analyses for the potential social applications of a variety of civic principles.

Findings

The development of an informed citizenry is one of the essential functions of public libraries and this invariably affects the participation of civil society in the affairs of state. In South Africa, for civil society to ensure good governance, there are various challenges confronting public libraries that need to be addressed. This paper enumerates those challenges and points a way forwards.

Research limitations/implications

This paper gives a variety of interpretations of the relationship between social philosophy and information science that are capable of further sophisticated theoretical elaboration.

Practical implications

The broad thrust of this paper is to emphasise the potential social benefit and significant practical outcomes of promoting library and information services within the sphere of civil society.

Originality/value

This paper gives an original insight into the relevance of public library work to the furtherance of social betterment, with particular reference to the situation in South Africa in the post‐apartheid era.

Details

Library Review, vol. 55 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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