Author: Robert D. Putnam
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 1994-05-27
Genre: Political Science
Why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? In a book that has received attention from policymakers and civic activists in America and around the world, Robert Putnam and his collaborators offer empirical evidence for the importance of "civic community" in developing successful institutions. Their focus is on a unique experiment begun in 1970 when Italy created new governments for each of its regions. After spending two decades analyzing the efficacy of these governments in such fields as agriculture, housing, and health services, they reveal patterns of associationism, trust, and cooperation that facilitate good governance and economic prosperity.
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Since the Chinese economic reform was realized in the early 1990s, a significant revolution has been launched socially, economically, and politically in China. At present, China is an indispensable actor in the international arena, so that the transitions domestically bring about substantial influence on the whole world. Dynamics of Local Governance in China during the Reform takes close look at China's current transformation and its broader implications. Through their thought-provoking essays, the contributors to this volume dissect China's transformation by examining various topics in the field of contemporary China studies, such as rural industrialization, development of civic society, socio-economic transformation and local self-governance.
Contents: Preface. I. Introduction: 1. Problem. 2. Case study of West Bengal. II. Social capital, democracy and governance: 1. Concept of social capital. 2. Neglect of the political. 3. Indian democracy as a puzzle. 4. Chhiber?s counter argument. 5. Post-colonial context: democratic consciousness. 6. Building social capital in the colonial world. 7. Formation of social capital : colonial and post-colonial world. 8. Micro-level evidences of post-colonial associationalism: i. Communist movement in the district of Burdwan. ii. Co-operatives and associationalism: micro-level evidences. 9. Conclusion. III. Decentralisation and local democracy in India: 1. Asian context of decentralisation. 2. Factors for decentralisation in Asia. 3. Indian story. 4. Historical legacy of decentralisation in India. 5. Indian nationalist thought and decentralisation. 6. Tradition of local governance. 7. Constituent assembly and village governance. 8. Decentralisation in the Indian constitution. 9. State sponsored institutional measures. 10. Local government in India?s federal polity. 11. Institutional mechanisms and accommodation of diversities. 12. Conclusion. IV. Local democracy, governance and empowerment in West Bengal: 1. Governance as a global agenda. 2. Governance and democracy. 3. Case of West Bengal?s decentralisation and democracy. 4. Asia?s most decentralised region? 5. A multi-cultural society. 6. Marxist approach to decentralisation. 7. History as a resource. 8. Decentralisation in West Bengal since independence. 9. Profile of governance in West Bengal (1958-93). 10. CPI-M?s conceptual framework of rural governance: i. Operational mechanisms for running local democracy. ii. The CPI-M?s redefinition of the panchayats. 11. Multi-party competition at panchayat elections since 1978. V. Making local democracy work in West Bengal : civic competence and popular task: 1. Institutions, trust and governance. 2. Political environment for panchayats. 3. Democratic participation and panchayat members. 4. Empirical evidences from panchayats: i. Socio-political portraits of elected members of Gram Panchayats. ii. Members of Satinandi Gram Panchayats. iii. Socio-political portraits of Jaugram Gram Panchayat. iv. Empirical evidences from Gurap Gram Panchayat. v. Empirical evidences from other panchayats from West Bengal. 5. Popular perception and citizen competence. 6. Panchayat Prodhans as democratisers: i. Case of nine Prodhans of Galsi (Burdwan). 7. Democratic potentialities. 8. Elite perception of decentralised governance: i. Elite perception of high governance. VI. Panchayats and social capital in West Bengal: empirical evidences from the localities: 1. Introduction. 2. Consciousness of rights and the panchayats. 3. Villagers of Belgram (Galsi). 4. Social capital among the schedules and tribes of rural Burdwan. 5. Social capital in Burdwan town. 6. Socio-political awareness of the villagers of under Jaugram Gram Panchayat. VII. Making urban democracy work in West Bengal: 1. Methodological question. 2. Recent constitutional arrangements for urban democracy in India. 3. Marxists and the municipalities. 4. Two case studies: i. Burdwan municipality. ii. Uttar Para municipality. 5. Conclusion. VIII. Gram Samsad as grassroots democracy: evidences from rural Bengal: 1. Gram Sabha as primary democracy: early beginning. 2. From Gram Sabha to Gram Samsad. 3. Concept of Gram Samsad: i. Legal concept. ii. Political concept. 4. Performances of Gram Samsad: case studies. 5. Performances of Gram Samsad: over all Bengal experiences. 6. Party?s self-critical assessments. 7. Conclusion: liberal vs dialogic democracy. IX. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index."Local democracy in India remains neglected in the ongoing studies of Indian democracy and politics. As a political sociology of democracy in India, this study seeks to rectify this neglect by locating the subject of local democracy in India, generally, and in West Bengal, in particular, in the appropriate historical, institutional and theoretical contexts. This study seeks to evaluate, in particular, the successes of the so-called (post-1978) ?Bengal model? of rural local self-government (panchayats) that is considered to be responsible for better governance, and political participation, decreasing the level of political violence, and ensuring some level of popular identification with representative political institutions in West Bengal, and to assess its relevance for other regions of India. Written in the backdrop of social capital theory, which privileges civil society as a precondition for the success of democracy, this study argues, alternatively, the case for ?democracy without associations? in the post-colonial societies including India as a possibility. Without denying the importance of associationalism in making democracy work, this study seeks to show that this act of associationalism may be performed by agencies not typically civil societies. There is thus a positive lesson to learn: the other regions of India, and other post-colonial societies beyond, deficient in civil society, need not despair because democracy is possible without civil societies. The democracy search in India, it is argued here, should not be hindered by the prior civil society search. In India and other post-colonial societies, the scholarly search should not concentrate on whether there is civil society or not, but whether there is democracy or not, and if yes, in what ways. The detailed case studies show that how political parties and their mass associations can be at work in making local democracy work in a favourable political and institutional contexts. Contrary to scholarly misconceptions about local democracy in India, this study asserts that local democracy, rural and urban, is based on the same twin principles of modernity?individuation and democracy?as democracy at national and state levels, and that there lies its developmental and progressive potentialities."The book should be of interest to students of political science, sociology, development, democratisation and public administration as well as policy makers and political activists." (jacket)
Author: Louis J. Gesualdi
Publisher: University Press of America
Release Date: 2012-04-13
Genre: Social Science
The Italian/American Experience represents a meaningful attempt to inform Italian Americans about their group’s varied experiences in America. This collection of eleven works offers readers an in-depth view of Italian American culture and heritage.
Author: Susan J. Pharr
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2018-06-05
Genre: Political Science
It is a notable irony that as democracy replaces other forms of governing throughout the world, citizens of the most established and prosperous democracies (the United States and Canada, Western European nations, and Japan) increasingly report dissatisfaction and frustration with their governments. Here, some of the most influential political scientists at work today examine why this is so in a volume unique in both its publication of original data and its conclusion that low public confidence in democratic leaders and institutions is a function of actual performance, changing expectations, and the role of information. The culmination of research projects directed by Robert Putnam through the Trilateral Commission and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, these papers present new data that allow more direct comparisons across national borders and more detailed pictures of trends within countries than previously possible. They show that citizen disaffection in the Trilateral democracies is not the result of frayed social fabric, economic insecurity, the end of the Cold War, or public cynicism. Rather, the contributors conclude, the trouble lies with governments and politics themselves. The sources of the problem include governments' diminished capacity to act in an interdependent world and a decline in institutional performance, in combination with new public expectations and uses of information that have altered the criteria by which people judge their governments. Although the authors diverge in approach, ideological affinity, and interpretation, they adhere to a unified framework and confine themselves to the last quarter of the twentieth century. This focus--together with the wealth of original research results and the uniform strength of the individual chapters--sets the volume above other efforts to address the important and increasingly international question of public dissatisfaction with democratic governance. This book will have obvious appeal for a broad audience of political scientists, politicians, policy wonks, and that still sizable group of politically minded citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific.
Observers have frequently noted that Italians seem skilled at many things – but not at good government. As a people Italians are said to have flair, panache, and tenacity, while as a polity Italy is in shambles. This paradoxical view of politics can be found in Italian history as far back as Guicciardini and Machiavelli. Nor is it unique to Italy, for the social dilemma of "rational individuals and irrational society" has, since Hobbes, produced a large literature on social theory and comparative politics, as well as numerous questionable suggestions for policy. In The Search for Good Government Filippo Sabetti examines Italian politics to reassess habitual presumptions in comparative politics, opening new territory in the art and science of institutional analysis. Sabetti argues that poor government performance in contemporary Italy has been an unintended consequence of attempts to craft institutions for good – or democratic – government. He shows that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, a chief problem in contemporary Italy is not the absence of the rule of law but, rather, the presence of rule by law or too many laws. A principal conclusion of his study is that postwar Italian politics can best be understood as a laboratory for revealing how and why a search for good government can generate antithetical and counter intentional results. The Italian experience has important implications for all those who aspire to be self-governing – as opposed to state-governed – for it shows what people can do to enhance human cooperation in collective-action dilemmas and suggests the probable results if "democracy" continues to be identified with parliamentary government and representative assemblies rather than with the universality of the village or the local community. The Search for Good Government changes our understanding of postwar Italian politics and provides new ways to evaluate the impact of the political changes that have occurred since 1992, arguing for a perceptual shift in the way we think about politics and the educative role of public institutions.
Author: Martin O'Neill
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2012-01-17
Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond features a collection of original essays that represent the first extended treatment of political philosopher John Rawls' idea of a property-owning democracy. Offers new and essential insights into Rawls's idea of "property-owning democracy" Addresses the proposed political and economic institutions and policies which Rawls's theory would require Considers radical alternatives to existing forms of capitalism Provides a major contribution to debates among progressive policymakers and activists about the programmatic direction progressive politics should take in the near future
Author: Steven C. Soper
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Release Date: 2013-12-06
The most passionate advocates of Italy’s unification in the nineteenth century possessed an almost limitless faith in the benefits of civic association. They also shared a common concern: once Italian unification was achieved and various freedoms were established, would ordinary Italians naturally become responsible, progressive citizens – especially after centuries of foreign rule, regional division, and economic decline? Most unification advocates doubted that their fellow citizens could form a modern, progressive civil society on their own, or that a vibrant association life would develop from the ground up. Building a Civil Society is the first book-length English-language study of associational life in nineteenth-century Italy. Drawing on extensive research in published and unpublished documents – including associational records, newspapers, periodicals, government documents, guidebooks, exhibition catalogues, memoirs, and private letters – Steven C. Soper provides a complex account of Italian liberalism during Europe’s age of association. His study also raises important questions about the role that associations play in emerging democracies.
Modern republicanism nevertheless turns liberal and opts for the contract between independent beings as fiat of the political world." "But the Contract is not self-sufficient, since anyone who looks back to their roots will come to the narration of reciprocal recognition. The Covenant falls similarly short, as those who forget the parable of independence may well have a disregard for justice." "In a dialogue with the most relevant philosophical currents of the age, the book proposes an articulation of politics, ethics and religion appropriate for our own time, starting from the contract between independent beings and from the reciprocal recognition of those who know themselves to be human."--Jacket.