Models of Civil Society

Civil society is the name for citizens of a country, their initiatives or independent organizations, that are united by social relations and have a high level of self-awareness. Modern models of civil societies are supposed to ensure the rights of the country’s population, meaning a democratic country, market relations, independent media, political and social organizations.

First of all, models of global civic society have historical features, meaning that their characteristics are specific in certain countries in a concrete time period. Gradually these models are changed for other models, including more modern and more flexible ones. Nowadays the models of society are categorized as defined by Nancy Rosenblum. She distinguishes electoral, mediational and democratic civil societies. Most of the countries went through stages of a few different models of civil society. What are the differences between these models and what advantages do they have?

The electoral model, for example, is characterized by two features: work on overall well-being and the economy of the country. Nancy Rosenblum believes this model to be most effective, as it corresponds with the present. The mediational model focuses on the opportunity to resolve issues of the society, form positive manners, the support of societal relations, and overall involvement in the process. Such a model usually does not contribute to development of political movements, but is a good ground for openness and virtue. The democratic type of society ends the classification. In this case most of the attention is turned to the political participation of the society in the country’s life. The task of this model is to raise political will, the desire for decision-making and opportunities to influence processes in citizens.

The period from formation of mediational to democratic models, and then formation of the electoral ones is considered a positive direction in a country’s development. Of course, every model leaves its own part that will influence the formation of the next stage, this is why civil society usually has mixed features. This is exactly why sometimes there can be drastic differences within civil societies of the same model. In other words, civil society of different countries can have some differences, but at the same time can be considered democratic.

All models of development of civil society in the world are based on human interaction: exchange of experience and thoughts, ability to voice rights and responsibilities, support of values and principles. Therefore, civil society becomes a driving force in raising citizens’ awareness of their rights and freedoms, in their fight for rights and in creating reasons for minimization of their violations. That is, without civil society, the effective existence of the state as such is simply impossible.

Incidentally, the analytical models of civil society are subordinated to some extent to the state. For example, if society begins to take shape in a country ruled by a totalitarian regime, it is unlikely that it will be able to promote the principles of equality, mutual participation and independence. And Ukraine, which has just begun its democratic development, must first address the issue of global distrust of the people in government and begin to actively involve the population in public affairs.


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