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By Jon Shefner

A lot has been written approximately how civil society demanding situations authoritarian governments and is helping prepared the ground to democratization. those reviews express that neoliberal monetary regulations have harmed many sectors of society, weakening the country and undermining clientelistic relationships that in the past supplied fabric merits to center- and low-income electorate, who're then stimulated to prepare coalitions to paintings for larger social justice and equality. spotting this crucial function performed via civil society businesses, Jon Shefner is going extra and analyzes the variegated nature of the pursuits represented in those coalitions, arguing that the variations between civil society actors are no less than as vital as their similarities in explaining how they functionality and what luck, or lack thereof, they've got experienced.Through an ethnographic exam extending over a decade, Shefner tells the tale of ways a bad neighborhood at the city edge of Guadalajara mobilized via a company referred to as the Union de Colonos Independientes (UCI) to paintings for fiscal development with the aid of Jesuits encouraged through liberation theology. but, Mexico's profitable formal democratic transition gained with the elections in 2000 used to be through the dissolution of the coalition. Neither political entry for the city negative, nor its fabric future health, has elevated with democratization. The harmony or even the concept that of civil society therefore grew to become out to be an phantasm.

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By Jon Shefner

A lot has been written approximately how civil society demanding situations authoritarian governments and is helping prepared the ground to democratization. those reviews express that neoliberal monetary regulations have harmed many sectors of society, weakening the country and undermining clientelistic relationships that in the past supplied fabric merits to center- and low-income electorate, who're then stimulated to prepare coalitions to paintings for larger social justice and equality. spotting this crucial function performed via civil society businesses, Jon Shefner is going extra and analyzes the variegated nature of the pursuits represented in those coalitions, arguing that the variations between civil society actors are no less than as vital as their similarities in explaining how they functionality and what luck, or lack thereof, they've got experienced.Through an ethnographic exam extending over a decade, Shefner tells the tale of ways a bad neighborhood at the city edge of Guadalajara mobilized via a company referred to as the Union de Colonos Independientes (UCI) to paintings for fiscal development with the aid of Jesuits encouraged through liberation theology. but, Mexico's profitable formal democratic transition gained with the elections in 2000 used to be through the dissolution of the coalition. Neither political entry for the city negative, nor its fabric future health, has elevated with democratization. The harmony or even the concept that of civil society therefore grew to become out to be an phantasm.

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Additional info for The Illusion of Civil Society: Democratization and Community Mobilization in Low-Income Mexico

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The question of political sympathies may also highlight researchers’ arrogance in expecting that we have something to offer in a situation so foreign to our own experiences. The political environments in the United States and in Latin America during the 1980s and 1990s were vastly different. During the six-year term of Mexico’s President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, for example, over two hundred and fifty militants from the opposition Partido de la Revolución Democrática (prd, Party of the Democratic Revolution) were murdered (Bruhn 1997).

4 The gatekeepers had opened the gate. For the remaining months of my fieldwork, uci leaders and members aided me in many ways. I interviewed dozens of members, participated in every meeting, demonstration, workshop, and social event sponsored by the organization, and I was welcomed into the homes of many uci members and leaders. 5 My expression of political sympathy helped convince uci leaders and members that I was someone who could be trusted with information about their political beliefs and activity.

The answers vary, although many accept Seymour Martin Lipset’s belief that “the more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy” (Lipset 1959, quoted in Karl 1990, 12). Lipset’s assumption, of course, was articulated when welfare states’ capacity to resolve social needs was not under attack by neoliberal theorists and policy makers. Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan “accept the well-documented correlation that there are few democracies at very low levels of socioeconomic development and that most polities at a high level of socioeconomic development are democracies,” yet they suggest that “it is often difficult or impossible to make systematic statements about the effect of economics on democratization processes” (1996, 77).

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