Quotation Totter, Marion Christine, Simsa, Ruth. 2019. Civil Society- A social system as an Agent for Democracy. 11th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of ISTR, Bangkok, Thailand, 15.07-16.07.




This paper suggests an empirically based theoretical model to better understand current forms of civil society organizing. It investigates the intensifying relationships between citizens in times of political and economic crisis in Spain. We argue that a robust theoretical framework may contribute to gain a deeper understanding of civil society organizing. Theoretically, the study is located in social systems theory and addresses questions of social change. We theorize civil society as a specific form of social system, which observes interactions of other systems and tries to challenge and change them. Methodologically, we use qualitative data derived from field research. The contribution of this article is a databased proposal for expanding social systems theory that could improve our understanding of civil society organizing in times of crisis. GOAL: This paper suggests a theoretically and empirically based model to interpret current forms of civil society (CS) organizing. It analyses how Spain ́s CS responded to the consequences of the economic crisis, political instability and mistrust (Della Porta, 2015). The article offers an empirically based proposal for an expansion of social systems theory. CS seems to operate with the basic distinctions of inclusion/exclusion‐ regarding the involvement of persons, integration/disintegration‐ concerning the compatibility of different systems, and internalization/externalization‐ with respect to ensuring the continued existence of (world) society (Simsa, 2003); these distinctions seem to orient CS observations and actions. RELATION TO THE STATE OF KNOWLEDGE: Spain ́s CS actors decided to represent their interests independently from public organizations, as massive cuts led to degradations in social services. Therefore, ‘ordinary people’ self‐organized and canalized distrust into commitment and engagement in order to face social imbalance, increasing inequality and reconquered public [...]


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Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title Civil Society- A social system as an Agent for Democracy
Event 11th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of ISTR
Year 2019
Date 15.07-16.07
Country Thailand
Location Bangkok
URL https://www.istr.org/page/AsiaPacific


Totter, Marion Christine (Details)
Simsa, Ruth (Details)
Department of Socioeconomics DP (Details)
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