The Dubious Link: Civic Engagement and Democratization, Ariel C. Armony [Excerpt]

March 30, 2005

The Dubious Link: Civic Engagement and Democratization

William T. Barndt, reviewer

Throughout the 1990s, an influential group of academics and policy-makers known as the "neo-Tocquevilleans" argued that robust civil society was universally good for democracy. They claimed that active citizen participation in dense networks of civil associations would generate trust among citizens, foster associations devoted to monitoring the state, and create public space for debate and discussion of critical social issues. Ariel Armony upends these arguments in his insightful book The Dubious Link: Civic Engagement and Democratization. In doing so, he not only challenges existing theory but questions the value of international development aid constructed on neo-Tocquevillean foundations. . . .


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