At the end of the Cold War, a renewed interest in civil society emerged. Today, civil society, trust, democratization, social capital, and volunteerism are a primary focus among the social sciences. The end of the Cold War meant such issues in the social sciences, neglected during many years of military confrontation, came back into prominence. Voluntary groups are being given large roles, and the state is being challenged by them.
The search is on for ways to encourage democracy. Free trade and globalization are part of the equation, but much attention is being focused on the role of NGOs (non-governmental organizations). The claim is that without a healthy voluntary sector, the long-term survival of a democratic society is doubtful.
Civil Society and Democratization, a special issue of THE ANNALS, features articles written by both domestic and international scholars on this ever growing area of discussion. Articles in this issue cover these important topics:
- · Debates on civil society both in the United States and abroad
- · Civil society and political elections
- · Religion and civic engagement
- · Civil society and volunteerism
This special issue is a comprehensive discussion of how political confidence is built and eroded in a world that unimaginable only ten years ago. It is an indispensable guide to the problems of sustaining the gains made by democracy since the collapse of the Soviet Union and will be of great interest to academics and professionals concerned with processes of social change.