Role of Civil Society in Good Governance
With the change of the century, globalisation and development have increased at a very rapid rate. The technological and economic aspects of this development have led to a huge increase in the development of civil services and social dependence on them. The concept of civil society can be dated back to approximately 2500 years ago to Greek and Roman societies from where it spread all over Europe and then soon became a global phenomenon (Glacius, Lewis and Seckinelgin, 2004). There has been numerous research and countless discussions on the importance of existence of these societies and their role in the current world. These societies have been debated to work for the government by helping to reduce poverty, spreading awareness regarding various issues and supporting those in need; but a darker side has also been associated with its existence; civil societies may provide an excuse to fight with the current system, create groups thereby causing tensions and also in some cases might have led to wars. Edwards (2004) suggests people to not accept or disregard this concept completely but to at least clarify its meaning, as its value varies from person to person. As we try to understand the concept of “Civil Societies”, what also becomes clear is its relation with the political world. Through this article, I will try to explain the term civil society and its impact on politics which leads to good governance using a case study as an example. Theory and Concepts
A civil society is a non-governmental organisation or an institution outside the family, state and market where people with common interests meet and work together for that interest. Civil societies have become the first medium of social service and support in places where other assistance and help is scarce. Civil societies may include NGOs, social movements or community groups, trade unions, faith groups and many more. As civil societies grow, they become powerful and influential social groups with important responsibilities, and thus become an integral part of the country’s governmental system. These civil societies work to aid the government in small and major issues, thereby ensuring the proper working of the government by relieving them of pressure. The role of civil societies is not only social i.e. to bring together people of common interests together but on a larger scale they must work towards good governance (What is a civil society, 2001). Good governance is a concept where institutions, private or public, work in a responsible and a transparent environment providing an abuse free and corruption less system which is responsive to the public demands and beliefs. This phenomenon of good governance when applied in a positive and an efficient manner would result in human development and also in large scale benefit the world (Sheng, UNESCAP, 2012). The rise in the power of civil societies has resulted in the downfall of communist states as well as monarchy and there has been a growth of democracy. Having understood the terms “Civil Society” and “Good Governance” individually; a relationship can be derived between them, highlighting the role of civil society in good governance. It has been debated a lot that a civil society can flourish only under a democracy, as democracy provides the societies with much more freedom and independence to work. As JA Scholte (2002:281) pointed out, a democracy does not flow automatically but has to be nurtured. An active and diverse civil society plays an importabnt role to assist good governance or democracy. There have been various debates about the boons civil societies have brought for democracy and how it has been a bane. Analysing the positive effects of civil society in a democracy is very essential and may help to understand the importance of these societies for good governance. A strong civil society may help in identifying potential political weaknesses. There are some nations in...
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