Subject: Civil society

October 2019, Volume 30, Issue 4

Can Egypt’s Democratic Hopes Be Revived?

In 2011–13, the undemocratic political outlook of both secular and Islamist actors helped to ensure the failure of democracy in Egypt. Today, the populace appears to have backed away from democratic demands, yet pockets of resilient activism offer a basis for hope.

April 2019, Volume 30, Issue 2

30 Years After Tiananmen: Hong Kong Remembers

It was the impact of Tiananmen that made the democracy movement in Hong Kong a mass phenomenon. Today, the democratic cause in Hong Kong remains linked to the democratic cause in China as a whole.

April 2019, Volume 30, Issue 2

Armenia’s Velvet Revolution

In 2018, a peaceful protest movement brought down Armenia’s semiauthoritarian government and ushered in a new political era, the culmination of a long struggle for national pride, self-determination, and democracy.

July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

India’s Democracy at 70: Civil Society and Its Shadow

The relationship between democracy and civil society is not straightforward. Angry crowds can stymie the functioning of the democratic process, institutions, and governance. Drawing on recent Indian examples, this article sets out a typology of civil society movements in order to assess their impact on Indian democracy. It shows how an active civil society can…

January 2016, Volume 27, Issue 1

Ethiopia: Silencing Dissent

Ethiopia’s ruling party has long been tightening its grip, using antiterrorism laws and harsh restrictions on media and civil society to silence voices critical of the regime.

April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Armies and Revolutions

A key factor in determining the success or failure of revolutions is how the national armed forces react. What are the keys to making accurate predictions about what the soldiers will do when the fate of a regime hangs in the balance?

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Putinism Under Siege: Can There Be a Color Revolution?

The recent protests in Russia raise the question of whether the Putin regime could fall to a “color” or electoral revolution like those that have ousted other autocratic regimes in postcommunist Europe and Eurasia over the past decade and a half. 

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Senegal: What Will Turnover Bring?

Although Senegal has often been regarded as a democracy, its regime should more properly have been classified as competitive authoritarian. Will the 2012 election of a new president prove to be a turning point?

April 2012, Volume 23, Issue 2

Southeast Asia: Thailand’s Uneasy Passage

In 2011, Thais reelected a party backed by deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Why is his brand of populism so irrepressible, and what can be done to reconcile the voting power of Thailand’s rural lower classes with the establishment dug in around the Thai monarchy?

January 2011, Volume 22, Issue 1

The Split in Arab Culture

A powerful “salafist” public norm has taken root in the Arab world, becoming the main symbol of resistance to Westernization. At the same time, however, new cultural forces in the private domain are promoting a dynamic of secularization.

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Chile: Are the Parties Over?

For the first time since the fall of Pinochet, the Chilean right has come to power via free elections. The long-ruling center-left coalition leaves behind many achievements, but also disturbing signs of a weakened party system.

April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Indonesia: The Irony of Success

Indonesia is widely lauded as a democratic success story for rolling back the military, keeping radical Islam in check, and institutionalizing democratic freedoms. But this success has had costs in terms of democratic quality.

April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Trouble in Central America: Honduras Unravels

A Central American military once again returned to the political center stage in 2009, but this had less to do with power-hungry generals than with warring civilian elites whose respect for liberal-democratic principles proved to be questionable at best.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty-Five Years, Fifteen Findings

A coauthor of the pathbreaking study Transitions from Authoritarian Rule reflects on the lessons that he has learned about democratic transition and consolidation since the publication of this work nearly 25 years ago.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: Citizenship Restored

The 1989 revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe were the triumph of civic dignity over Leninism. The first decade of postcommunism saw the project of an open society strongly challenged by ethnocratic temptations. The most important new idea brought about by the revolutions of 1989 was the rethinking and the restoration of citizenship.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: Freedom and the State

This is a central problem—perhaps the central problem—for classical liberal theory and its crucial distinction between the state of nature and the civil state. Which is better for liberty: nature or the state?

Free

October 2009, Volume 20, Issue 4

Iran in Ferment: Civil Society’s Choice

When students and other rights activists decided to seize a tactical opening that the regime cynically offered them during the 2009 campaign, they were making a choice that was even more fateful than they knew.

October 2009, Volume 20, Issue 4

Jordan: Ten More Years of Autocracy

Jordan gets much good press for having one of the more open and liberal regimes in the Arab world, but that reputation masks a considerably grimmer reality.

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July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: The Massacre’s Long Shadow

In the two decades since the Tiananmen massacre, China has enjoyed rapid economic growth and a measure of political stability. Recently, however, various forms of popular protest have been increasing. Do they represent a potentially serious threat to CCP rule?

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: A New Rights Consciousness?

Despite the suppression of the Tiananmen Uprising of 1989, popular protest in China has by all accounts escalated steadily over the ensuing two decades. These protests have spread to virtually every sector of Chinese society, prompting more than a few observers to proclaim the emergence of a “rising rights consciousness” that poses a protodemocratic challenge…

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Rural Protest

Although China’s farmers did not play a large role in the 1989 protests, they have been quite contentious since. Rural unrest has been triggered in part by reforms and in part by savvy “peasant leaders” who quickly seize opportunities that appear. Recently, many protest leaders have concluded that tame forms of contention are ineffective and…

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Middle-Class Mobilization

Some of the many China stories to attract attention recently have involved NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) protests by largely middle class crowds gathering to demand a greater say in urban development plans. This article argues that such protests a) are a significant addition to the already complex landscape of Chinese collective action (and signal…

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Online Activism

Online activism is an integral part of the broader landscape of citizen activism in contemporary China. It assumes a variety of forms, from cultural and social activism to cyber-nationalism and online petitions and protests. Technological development and social transformation provide the basic structural conditions. A fledgling civil society of online communities and offline civic associations,…

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July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

Malaysia’s Electoral Upheaval

In March 2008, Malaysian voters dealt the long-ruling National Front coalition an enormous shock—pushing that party closer to losing power than it has ever been in Malaysia’s entire history as an independent country.  

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: The Wounds of Lost Empire

There is no consensus about the nature of the political system in Moscow today. Yet how one understands the motivations propelling Russian policy abroad depends on how one understands its regime at home.

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: Is There a Key?

Of all of the national republics that emerged out of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has had the most profound difficulties in determining its national identity. What is the essence of being Russian, and where are the boundaries of the "Russian World"? There has never been a Russian national identity that was anything…

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April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Reading Russia: The Rules of Survival

The image of Putin’s Russia as an authoritarian oil state attracts many Western analysts because it seems to carry a promise that falling oil prices will bring regime change. Thus, many were convinced that a major economic crisis would force the Kremlin either to open up the system and allow more pluralism and competition, or…

January 2009, Volume 20, Issue 1

Can Cuba Change? Tensions in the Regime

Although the transfer of power from Fidel to Raúl has been relatively uneventful, potential divisions within the ruling elite, especially between the military and the Party, are likely to emerge before too long.

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January 2009, Volume 20, Issue 1

Is Democracy Possible?

While the belief in democracy has spread around the world, it has begun to crumble in some of the West’s finest academic institutions.

October 2008, Volume 19, Issue 4

Pakistan After Musharraf: The 2008 Elections

Elections set the stage for the General’s exit after nearly a decade in power, yet Pakistan still faces deep-seated structural problems that cannot be remedied merely by a return to competitive electoral politics.

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Are They Democrats? Does It Matter?

The journalistic and policy communities have been alive with speculation as to whether Islamist groups involved in politics—including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Palestine’s Hamas— are true believers in democracy or calculating pragmatists who, in Steven Cook’s words, are “seeking to use democratic procedures in order to advance an antidemocratic agenda.”

January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Morocco’s Elections: A Dynamic Civil Society

Since the 1990s, Moroccan civil society groups have been proliferating, and they are increasingly influential in addressing society-wide matters including the rights of women, ethnic minorities, and the poor.

October 2007, Volume 18, Issue 4

Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples

Where indigenous peoples constitute a smaller share of the electorate, their recent inclusion denotes a more generalized opening of the political system to excluded and vulnerable sectors of society.