Civil Society and Democracy in Latin America by Richard, Waisman, Carlos H., Zamosc, Leon Feinberg

By Richard, Waisman, Carlos H., Zamosc, Leon Feinberg

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This position was later assumed by Diamond (1994) and Linz and Stepan (1996). For them “. . at best, civil society can destroy a non-democratic regime. However, a full democratic transition and, specially, democratic consolidation must involve political society” (Linz and Stepan 1996:8). Linz and Stepan’s remarks, which are correct at a more general level, do not solve the problem of an emerging conflict between civil and political society caused by different traditions and forms of articulation between civil society and the state.

Parties and governments may build constituencies within marginalized groups and regions, of course, and these constituencies may jump 30 Carlos H. Waisman to the center of the political stage in some situations (especially when they display noninstitutionalized forms of behavior). However, the relationship between them and government and parties are likely to be clientelistic or state-corporatist, and thus not conducive to the strengthening of civil society. Finally, if sectors of the marginal pole resort to violent forms of collective action, coercion may become the standard state response.

These new hybrid spaces helped to create a new democratic culture in Brazil. “The very L at i n A m e r i c a i n t h e T w e n t y- F i r s t C e n t u r y 49 existence of these spaces confronts . . the elitist conceptions of democracy as well as technocratic and authoritarian conceptions of the nature of decision-making inside the state” (Dagnino 2002:21). Thus, Brazil can be nominated as a third case that may be called civicparticipatory. In this case, civil society articulation with the state leads to enhanced forms of participation and hybrid institutions.

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