Presenter: Professor Sahoo Sarbeswar (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi)
Chair: Professor Paul Chaney
This seminar examines how Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), as part of civil society, contribute towards democratization in India and what conditions facilitate or inhibit their contribution. On the basis of in-depth empirical analysis and comparative case studies of three developmental NGOs that work among the tribal communities in the socio-historical context of south Rajasthan, this seminar assesses three different kinds of politics within civil society – liberal pluralist, neo-Marxist, and communitarian – which have had different implications in relation to democratization. Based on these three cases, the discussion demonstrates that civil society is not necessarily a democratizing force; it can have contradictory consequences in relation to democratization. The democratizing effect of civil society is not a result of the “stock of social capital” in the community, but is contingent upon the kinds of ideologies and interests that are present or ascendant not just within the institutions of civil society but also within the state. The analysis thus, presents a nuanced understanding of civil society’s capacity to influence democratization in the developing world.
Part of the 2016 Civil Society Seminar Series, this seminar examines how Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), as part of civil society, contribute towards democratization in India and what conditions facilitate or inhibit their contribution.