Polsm19 civilsocietyfrancoishoutart edit feb 2010

490 views

Published on

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
490
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
12
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Polsm19 civilsocietyfrancoishoutart edit feb 2010

  1. 1. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>Prepared by </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Janet M Eaton, </li></ul><ul><li>Community Political Power </li></ul><ul><li>Acadia University, POLS 3542, 2002 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>Historical perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Political ideological perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Neo-liberal perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Global civil society perspectives* </li></ul>
  3. 3. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>References for this power point </li></ul><ul><li>Francoise Houtart. Civil Society and Public Spaces Unpublished paper presented at WSF 2001. Houtart is the Editor of - The Other Davos - online reference term paper </li></ul><ul><li>Francois Houtart & Globalization-Europe Magazine 18/11/01 </li></ul><ul><li>UNDP CSOPP -Civil Society Programme Framework </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.undp.org/csopp/CSO/NewFiles/programmesglobalfmwrk2.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy and Civil Society Inventing Post Modern Culture </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.civsoc.com/htm </li></ul><ul><li>Tonnies 1887. Community and Civil Society </li></ul><ul><li>http://uk.cambridge.org/politicaltheory/catalogue/0521561191/ </li></ul>
  4. 4. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ Civil Society Typology - Houtart </li></ul><ul><li>1. “Bourgeois” concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>2. “Angelic” concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>3. “People’s” concept of civil society (From the Bottom) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>Houtart says the Concept has undergone significant evolution throughout history: </li></ul><ul><li>Time of the Renaissance -opposite of ‘natural society i.e. organized social order -superior because rational and civilized </li></ul><ul><li>For Adam Smith - was everything constructed by society </li></ul><ul><li>For Hegel -the social space between family and state </li></ul><ul><li>For Antonio Gramschi -2 realties of economic relations </li></ul><ul><li><> Political Society and <> Civil Society </li></ul><ul><li>In this concept, civil society, sits between the State & Market </li></ul>
  6. 6. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant Class Concept of Civil Society </li></ul><ul><li>Seen from above </li></ul><ul><li>An essential element in class strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>Place where individuals can develop their potential and space in which to exercise freedoms </li></ul><ul><li>Business is the pivot of civil society as seen from above </li></ul><ul><li>Followed by schools, religions, media, non-profit sector, & voluntary organizations to fill in the gaps in the system </li></ul>
  7. 7. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>In this view from above the State’s role is limited to </li></ul><ul><li>three functions: </li></ul><ul><li>1. To furnish a juridical framework guaranteeing private property & freedom to do business </li></ul><ul><li>2. To assure the functioning of social continuance - education, health etc. </li></ul><ul><li>3. To protect individuals - military and police </li></ul>
  8. 8. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>Recall IMF chief Michael Camdessus 3-hands statement: </li></ul><ul><li>“ the invisible hand of the market, the hand of the State which organizes the rules of the game ; and the hand of charity , taking care of those unfortunates who slip through the net.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>Houtart says that the bourgeois concept of strengthening Civil Society means: </li></ul><ul><li>expanding the freedom to do business </li></ul><ul><li>fuelling the energies of the entrepreneurs, </li></ul><ul><li>diminishing the role of the state and finally </li></ul><ul><li>maintaining the social relationships that assure class domination, now on a globalized scale. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>Houtart says out of this emerges a coherent strategy: </li></ul><ul><li>It is a matter of : </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating the network of organizations which make up its fabric </li></ul><ul><li>putting restraints on ideological organizations </li></ul><ul><li>promoting those voluntary organizations which are not contesting the status quo </li></ul>
  11. 11. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>This makes it possible </li></ul><ul><li>to channel the social demands of groups and deprived classes & to break them up </li></ul><ul><li>to co-opt certain voluntary organizations , whether religious or not, especially in the business of caring for the poor. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>Effects worth noting - as Market becomes the universal norm for functioning of human relationships it structures not only world of consumerism but also that of culture. See shifts from: </li></ul><ul><li>Politics Market Forces </li></ul><ul><li>Development Growth </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen Individual consumer </li></ul><ul><li>Political Engagement Cultural Reference points of </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnic, race, religion </li></ul>
  13. 13. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>In other words </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Society becomes depoliticized </li></ul><ul><li>Politics becomes more illusory ‘virtual’ </li></ul><ul><li>Social movements search for their identity in their own back yard, breaking with political tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Some NGO’s cultivate a timidly anti-government strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Religious movements sprout up based on individual salvation - and stripped of any social goals </li></ul>
  14. 14. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>Houtart concludes </li></ul><ul><li>We must be very conscious of what Civil Society signifies in the ‘dominant class’ </li></ul><ul><li>We must not be taken in by similarity of vocabulary. </li></ul><ul><li>When WB/ WEF governments speak of Civil Society -it has nothing to do with what it signifies for the social movements present at Seattle , Prague or Port Alegre </li></ul>
  15. 15. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ Civil Society Typology - Houtart </li></ul><ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>3. People’s concept of civil society (From the Bottom) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ 2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>According to this perspective Civil Society is made up of orgs formed by deprived social groups, by the NGO’s, by non-profit sector of the economy, and by institutions of common interest -education, culture, health. </li></ul><ul><li>Sort of ‘third Sector’ independent of the State </li></ul><ul><li>Made up of the organizations of citizens all of whom desire good, and who wish to change things in an unjust world </li></ul>
  17. 17. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ 2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>Houtart is critical of this perspective because while it leads to pursuing of goals responding to true need, it in no way leads to a re-arrangement of social relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Although this concept does make it possible to fight social battles and </li></ul><ul><li>it is good at denouncing the abuses of the system </li></ul><ul><li>this does not lead to a critique of the system’s logic </li></ul>
  18. 18. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ 2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>While it shows desire to change society’s paradigms in the long run it simply generates ineffectiveness !! </li></ul>
  19. 19. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ 2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>In some cases it shadows the ‘dominant class’ concept of civil society -which is why institutions sharing this visions of society are target of takeovers by TNC’s, OECD, IMF etc. </li></ul><ul><li>and of calls for global partnership governance structures. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/ Civil Society Typology - Houtart </li></ul><ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society [From the Top] </li></ul><ul><li>2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>(From the Bottom) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>In this perspective civil Society is a place where social inequalities are constructed and at its heart are institutions and organizations representing divergent interests. </li></ul><ul><li>A change of heart will not be enough to transform societies automatically, even if this is an important step. </li></ul><ul><li>It is necessary to create different power relationships </li></ul>
  22. 22. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>Social relationships are different than 19th C with important implications for Civil Society ! </li></ul><ul><li>Worker-Capital relationship have been de-regulated by neo-liberal orientation esp. in South </li></ul><ul><li>New technologies, corp mergers, globalization of the Market, volatility of finance capital etc. extend the logic of capitalism while contributing to the diffusion of its effects in space & re-distribution in time </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer & fewer boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Social relationships of capitalism more diffused , less visible </li></ul>
  23. 23. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Society is therefore forged by the market through unequal relationships </li></ul><ul><li>The Commons are monopolized by economic forces </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant groups operate globally, using governments not to redistribute wealth & protect the vulnerable but to control populations (migrations, social movements, popular civil society) and to serve the market </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanism vary and are introduced in stages, </li></ul>
  24. 24. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanisms - treaties of free exchange </li></ul><ul><li>juridicial reforms , education reforms </li></ul><ul><li>privatization of social security </li></ul><ul><li>privatization of health services </li></ul><ul><li>reductions in subsidies for social research </li></ul><ul><li>reduction in support for people’s organizations </li></ul><ul><li>suppression of left -wing press </li></ul><ul><li>control of telephone communication systems </li></ul><ul><li>emasculation of progressive sectors of religious institutions to </li></ul><ul><li>putting NGO’s under trusteeship. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>In short ….. </li></ul><ul><li>The market has been engaged in the taming and controlling of the State and of the organs of the UN, and control of Civil Society </li></ul><ul><li>On the basis of this kind of analysis a deeper conscience has also been developing . </li></ul><ul><li>There exists a Civil Society as Seen from Below !!! </li></ul><ul><li>One which is the expression of social groups that are alienated and oppressed who are unraveling the root causes of their situation. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>[] That is what is behind the kinds of resistances of today which are gradually becoming global </li></ul><ul><li>[] That is what is reclaiming the public space to be at the service of human beings in their entirety and not of a minority </li></ul><ul><li>[] That is what is working to transform into citizens all those people who are floundering in the horrors of shapeless economies , the people in fact, who for the globalized market make up the ‘useless masses’ !!! </li></ul>
  27. 27. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of events today must make us mindful of history </li></ul><ul><li>Social movements did not begin yesterday </li></ul><ul><li>The history of peoples is strewn with resistance movements - resistance to Capitalism, Colonialism, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The Worker movement has established itself as a paradigm of social struggle for almost 2 Centuries </li></ul><ul><li>Peasant revolts have shaken agricultural societies when agrarian capitalism first introduced </li></ul><ul><li>Countless original peoples or ‘first nations’ have fought vs cultural and physical destruction under mercantile expansion or conquest of their territory </li></ul>
  28. 28. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>New element in social movements is Ecological movement </li></ul><ul><li>Destruction of environment was not hated by socialism which defined its objective to develop production to catch up to capitalism </li></ul><ul><li>Destruction more devastating in last 30 years in neo-liberal phase of capitalism </li></ul><ul><li>Pacifist movements emerged during Cold War - </li></ul><ul><li>took their place in anti-war tradition of 19th century </li></ul><ul><li>Somewhat stagnant now but events like Gulf War or Kosovo remind us Economic imperialism can’t function with out arms -NATO etc. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Lastly we see a proliferation of NGO’s -some go along with establishment- others identify with peoples struggles </li></ul><ul><li>Old social movements, new movements with goals cutting across class relationships [women, indigenous, environment, cultural identity] </li></ul><ul><li>it is important to have criteria for judging these organizations and movements </li></ul><ul><li>JE – added April 2007 – cross reference with JE power point on Social Movements </li></ul><ul><li>JE added – April 2007 – paradigm shift – small = community- urban break down to communities – see Cuban film etc. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Post modernism speaks of the end of the ‘great narratives of systems and grand structures </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental as the critique of modernity may be, the contribution of post modernism is of little help to us in analyzing contemporary Civil Society </li></ul><ul><li>To whit [Panel - after Seattle ] </li></ul><ul><li>and even less help in galvanizing it as the source of resistance and effective struggle </li></ul><ul><li>So the criteria we use to analyze the multiple initiatives which make up Civil Society seen from Below will be their anti -system character </li></ul>
  31. 31. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>The degree to which each one contributes to questioning the logic of the capitalist system. E.g. </li></ul><ul><li>Landless peasants > alienation as land commodified </li></ul><ul><li>Peasants & natives peoples first victims of SAPS </li></ul><ul><li>Women bearing weight of poverty-feminization of poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>Middle classes weakened by monetary politics & speculative financial transactions </li></ul><ul><li>Health wrecked by commercialization of health sector </li></ul><ul><li>Social policies made impossible by debt & SAPS </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural heritage wiped out by systematic Americanization </li></ul>
  32. 32. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers limited by obligation to be profitable </li></ul><ul><li>Communication systems controlled by economic interests </li></ul><ul><li>art reduced to mere commercial value </li></ul><ul><li>agriculture dominated by chemical and agro-business industries </li></ul><ul><li>thousands of animal /plant species becoming extinct </li></ul><ul><li>environment degraded by development defined in terms of growth exclusively </li></ul>
  33. 33. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>This situation demands that the movements & organization of ‘Civil Society Seen From Below’ </li></ul><ul><li>effect a Delegitimization of the present economic system ! </li></ul><ul><li>Not simply condemning as leaders of churches do & even prominent supporters of existing system ! </li></ul><ul><li>It is vital to denounce the logic which presides over the way the system is constructed and over its practices ! </li></ul><ul><li>In all it is a matter of searching for alternatives !! </li></ul>
  34. 34. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept of civil society - Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Not alternatives within the system like the Third Way </li></ul><ul><li>espoused by reformists hopeful capitalism can be </li></ul><ul><li>humanized . </li></ul><ul><li>No - rather the creation of a successful post-capitalist organization of the economy , </li></ul><ul><li>It is a long term project !! </li></ul><ul><li>It must also include a utopian dimension -outlining the type of society which one wishes to construct . </li></ul><ul><li>It must also include medium and short term goals </li></ul>
  35. 35. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -What Kind of civil society ? </li></ul><ul><li>1 . Pursuit of anti-system activities -bringing together all those involved to restructure another kind of economy, of politics, another culture. It has a need for intellectuals working with the social movements -it must formulate its own agenda and forms of expression -The Other Davos- Porto Alegre is one of these forms </li></ul><ul><li>2. It is a storehouse of utopias, which mobilize people , which rekindle hope , which are built in the concrete of social struggles and never weakened by concrete action -but remain like a lighthouse in the lives of the group </li></ul>
  36. 36. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -What Kind of civil society ? </li></ul><ul><li>3. Must seek for alternatives at all levels -whether in the large political battlegrounds , in international organizations like the UN or in daily life of the impoverished, in culture, in respect for nature, & organization of production , in development and consumption - a Huge Task! </li></ul>
  37. 37. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -What Kind of civil society ? </li></ul><ul><li>4. Fourth aspect is reclaiming the commons ! </li></ul><ul><li>This is the very articulation of politics !! </li></ul><ul><li>The task is to construct a ‘relationship of power’ strong enough to execute decisions </li></ul><ul><li>It is the condition for the establishment of true democracy, not excluding electoral dimension, must recover the use of the commons. </li></ul><ul><li>Requires a learning process of social movements to counter the real devaluation of politics </li></ul><ul><li>Seems likely for future a plurality of organizations -> the new relationship of strength will be constructed </li></ul>
  38. 38. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -What Kind of civil society ? </li></ul><ul><li>5. Fifthly and finally convergences !! </li></ul><ul><li>globalizing of resistance movements and struggles is the immediate goal -very concretely </li></ul><ul><li>the great proliferation of social movements can be powerful force it they move forward in practical convergence, </li></ul><ul><li>The year 2000 was the year of convergences </li></ul><ul><li>The years to come will be of ‘consolidation’ </li></ul><ul><li>But it will be necessary to provide the movement with means to operate effectively in the analytical mode. . </li></ul>
  39. 39. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -What Kind of civil society ? </li></ul><ul><li>5. Fifthly and finally convergences !! </li></ul><ul><li>That is what the Alternative Forum proposes to </li></ul><ul><li>accomplish !! </li></ul>
  40. 40. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Our understanding of Civil Society must be aligned with the definition as Seen From Below </li></ul><ul><li>It will only be globalized to extent it exists at local level -convergences can only bring together forces that already exist </li></ul><ul><li>The concrete modalities of action are countless </li></ul><ul><li>They will be given definition by actors in diverse fields </li></ul><ul><li>The WSF is a place and opportunity for such definition </li></ul>
  41. 41. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>/3. People’s concept -Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>We have tried to reflect on the </li></ul><ul><li>- foundations </li></ul><ul><li>- challenges </li></ul><ul><li>- goals </li></ul><ul><li>It remains to determine the means !! </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction with most experienced movements in each field will make it possible </li></ul><ul><li>To reclaim the commons as we are doing in Porto Alegre is already to construct Civil Society From Below on a world scale !!!!! </li></ul>
  42. 42. Civil Society - What is it? <ul><li>Civil Society Typology - Houtart </li></ul><ul><li>1. Bourgeois concept of civil society (From the Top) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Angelic concept of civil society </li></ul><ul><li>3. People’s concept of civil society (From the Bottom) </li></ul>

×