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Lecture | Global Questions Seminar

CANCELLED: Civil Society’s Democratic Potential: Organizational Trade-offs between Participation and Representation

Date
Friday 17 February 2023
Time
Series
Global Questions Seminar
Location
Gravensteen
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden
Room
1.11

Abstract

Which civil society organizations (CSOs) contribute to democracy, how and why? Organized civil society is traditionally considered a cornerstone of democracy. Nevertheless, individual CSOs’ readiness and ability to serve as venues for participation, vehicles of democratic representation or indeed both at the same time have remained a matter of on-going debate across social science disciplines. Prominent notions such as ‘NGOization’ and ‘cartelization’ have problematized CSOs’ and parties’ increasing state dependency and professionalization, shifting organizational priorities away from societal values towards instrumentally driven self-maintenance, thereby diminishing their contribution to democratic governance. Two contrasting governance templates – the ‘voluntary association’ and the ‘professionalized voluntary organization’ – allow theorizing fundamental trade-offs delimiting different types of CSOs’ ability to simultaneously ‘perform’ on different dimensions relevant to democracy (i.e. participation, representation, and relatedly, responsiveness). Those trade-offs are then analyzed in four European democracies by combining cross-national quantitative analyses of survey data with qualitative case studies of individual organizations’ evolution over several decades.

Global Questions Seminar

The motto of the Institute for History’s research programme is ‘Global Questions, Local Sources’. Across all areas and time periods, researchers of the Institute focus on important processes such as migration, colonialism, urbanization, and identity formation.

The ‘Global Questions Seminar’, for which we invite distinguished international colleagues to discuss the interplay between global and local issues from the past, brings all staff members of the Institute together.

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