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Civility and Participatory Democracy

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Civility and Participatory Democracy

The Importance of Civil Society and Active Citizenship

9781789907766 Edward Elgar Publishing
Thomas P. Boje, Professor of Sociology, Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark
Publication Date: July 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78990 776 6 Extent: c 176 pp
This thought-provoking book conceptualizes the importance of civil society and citizenship in building a sustainable and participatory democracy. It considers the ways in which networks and organizations promoting common interests contribute to this mediating space between the public and private spheres, examining the impacts of the diversity of values and attitudes held by these organizations. Taking a normative position, Thomas P. Boje argues for the importance of social justice and civility in an active, liberating, equitable and participatory society. This book concludes with a detailed discussion of the conditions required for a participatory democratic system in which all citizens are involved in the planning, decision-making and implementation of crucial decisions.

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This thought-provoking book conceptualizes the importance of civil society and citizenship in building a sustainable and participatory democracy. It considers the ways in which networks and organizations promoting common interests contribute to this mediating space between the public and private spheres, examining the impacts of the diversity of values and attitudes held by these organizations.

Taking a normative position, Thomas P. Boje argues for the importance of social justice and civility in an active, liberating, equitable and participatory society. He presents a series of ideas for democratic involvement and emancipation through civil society organizations, as well as societal institutions more generally. This innovative book concludes with a detailed discussion of the conditions required for a participatory democratic system in which all citizens are involved in the planning, decision-making and implementation of crucial decisions influencing the development of an equitable society.

This timely book will be an illuminating read for students and scholars seeking to understand the role of civil society and real participatory democracy in liberal democracies. It will also be a key resource for policy makers, professionals and activists wishing to become more informed about conditions for participatory democracy and activism.
Critical Acclaim
‘In times where popular resentment against prevailing orders and practices sustains an autocratization of political and social systems, this book presents an engaged and well informed plea for counter-initiatives. It argues the case for better links between state and society – a liberal democratic order that regains strength by more participatory mechanisms and types of welfare and service systems which foster a co-productive role for the public. The result is a compelling case for an active kind of citizenship and a civility that counts for society at large.’
– Adalbert Evers, Heidelberg University, Germany

‘Civil society and civility are basic conditions for participatory democracy. Liberal democratic ideals of civility and citizenship entail a vibrant civil society enabling, through a plurality of organizations, citizens’ active participation and mediating between private and collective interests. To make this normative case, Thomas P. Boje draws on a wide range of sociological and political theories and empirical researches, developing a comprehensive view of the significance of civil society for the present and future of liberal democracy.’
– Bernard Enjolras, Institute for Social research, Oslo, Norway

‘Thomas P. Boje makes an important contribution to the literature on the role of civil society and active citizenship in building sustainable and participatory democracies. In these turbulent times, when democracy is under threat from rising right-wing, authoritarian populism and declining trust in political institutions and parties, it is essential to examine how citizens’ actions and networks, contribute to trust and cooperation. Of course civil society organizations are not free from conflict, mistrust or competition and Boje deftly grapples with these tensions as he lays out a series of ideas for democratic involvement and emancipation through these organizations.’
– Armine Ishkanian, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

This title is available for institutional purchase via Elgaronline.

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