State and Nation:
Aristotle defined state as A UNION OF FAMILIES AND VILLAGES HAVING, FOR ITS END, A PERFECT AND SELF-SUFFICING LIFE, WHICH MEANS HAPPY AND HONORABLE LIFE. According to MacIver the state is an association, which acting through law as promulgated by government, endowed to this end with coercive power, maintains within a community territorially demarcated universal external conditions of social order. It can otherwise be said that WHEN A GROUP OF PEOPLE ARE PERMANENTLY SETTLED ON A DEFINITE TERRITORY AND HAVE GOVERNMENT OF THEIR OWN, FREE FROM ANY KIND OF EXTERNAL CONTROL, THEY CONSTITUTE A STATE AND IT HAS SOVEREIGN POWER UPON ITS PEOPLE.
According to MACIVER’S DEFINITION, the following elements can be considered as the important ones for state:
- A specific region and its inhabitants(ii) The region free from outer control
- Requirement of a sovereign Goventernmt.
- The state applies power to control and unify the people and the means are: legislature, judiciary and executive and armed forces.
Normally, four elements are universally accepted:
State uses power as a mechanism to keep the society bound together. The state uses power as legislative, judicial, military and planning function. Through legislative function it enforces the norms of the society, judicial function uses power to exert physical force for the protection of citizen’s lives and property military function uses power to establish relations with other societies and planning function is
related to the allocation of scarce goods and resources.
Concept of state as elaborated in different theoretical models:
KARL MARX ON STATE:
Although Marx had no fully developed theory of state, he did discuss it in various ways throughout his writings. Marx traces the development of the state of the division of labour in the society. Primitive societies are simple and less complex. So state is non-existent in primitive Societies. With change in forces of production, surplus wealth and private propert appears in society. And there arises some central organizing agency to control. This ultimately leads to the formation of state. His views on state are closely related to his classification of society.
- For MARX the STATE IS FORCE AND STATE EXERCISES POWER AND AUTHORITY FOR PROMOTING THE INTERESTS OF THE DOMINANT CLASS AND SUPPRESSING AND EXPLOITING THE WEAKER CLASSES WHO ARE COLLECTIVELY CALLED AS PROLETARIAT IN THE CONTEXT OF CAPITALIST SOCIETY. He views state as a manmade institution rather than a natural institution. The Marxists look at the state as a product of class struggle and as an instrument of class rule. Thus, for Marx, the state is essentially as class structure, an organization of one class dominating over other classes. He views that state as originated at a certain stage of economic development in the history of humanity, when society was broken into two classes, namely ‘haves’ and have-nots’.
- In Marxist theory the most important activity of human beings is economic activity. According to him understanding the way a society organizes its production is the key to understand the whole of its social structure. His view is that the production of the means of subsistence forms the foundation upon which various institutions; the legal conception, art and even the ideas on religion of the people concerned have been evolved. Marx stresses economic production as they key structural feature of any society and he called the way it organizes it production as its INFRASTRUCTURE. The rest of its social organization – its noneconomic activities such as ideas, beliefs and philosophies, legal system, the state etc. – he called SUPERSTRUCTURE. The super structure of any form of society is affected by its infrastructure i.e., the economic activities of the society. State according to Marx is a noneconomic institution and hence a part of superstructure. The formation and functioning of the state is therefore depend on the way the society organizes its economic production. (Marx called the different ways of production of goods in the society as MODES OF PRODUCTION. And based on the modes of production Marx distinguished five historical epochs in the development of humanity. These in chronological order are primitive communist, ancient, feudal, capitalist and communist, each depicting its own characteristic state and government.
- Apart from the first and last modes of production i.e. the primitive communist and communist mode, each mode of production has one crucial characteristic in common. Each of them produces goods based on class. In each of the historical epochs there are two classes; one is the minority dominant class, the one which owns the modes of production and the other majority subordinate class, the class that does not own means of production or the exploited class which do the productive work.
- Those who own means of production control the state. Whenever there is change in the mode of production in a society, the government (the physical form of state) also undergoes simultaneous change. And irrespective of the form of the society (ancient, feudal or capitalist) the state invariably is, according to Marx, an instrument for exploitation in the hands of dominant class.
- Marx’s deliberation of state as an institution is mainly based on the capitalist form of society. For him state is a centralized organizing agency, which was necessarily involved in the domination of one class over the others. The prominent classes Marx talks about in relation to capitalist society are bourgeoisie and proletariat. According to Marx, capitalism is an inherently expanding system and the social class at its helm (bourgeoisie) is carried into political power not because of any deliberate or conscious action but because that is the way the society develops.
- It is argued that Marx believed the state to be a sort of conspiracy against the working class, or that the wealth of the bourgeoisie could be used to ensure that whoever is in power pursues its interests (Miller 1991). For Marx, the concern of the state of individual liberty could be seen as an attempt to enforce the right of the individual property owner (bourgeoisie) against those without property (Proletariat) whose only power lay in their banding together to take collective action. The political struggle for trade union rights represents the collective action of proletariat.
MAX WEBER ON STATE:
Marx Weber suggested in Politics as a Vocation that the STATE IS A HUMAN’S COMMUNITY OR A SPECIAL KIND OF INSTITUTION THAT CLAIMS THE MONOPOLY OF LEGITIMATE USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE WITHIN A GIVEN TERRITORY. By this he meant not ONLY THAT THE STATE HAD THE ABILITY TO ENSURE THE OBEDIENCE OF ITS CITIZENS BUT ALSO THE ACKNOWLEDGED RIGHT TO DO SO. A monopoly of legitimate violence is therefore the practical expression of the state sovereignty. He saw the state as the most powerful institution in modern society it has gained the legitimate monopoly of force over a given territory.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MODERN STATE:
- First, it has A LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER, which is subject to change by legislation only. It has an administration which works in accordance with legislation. This means that civil servants and judiciary do not make up their own rules but implement those formed by the legislature.
- Secondly the state has BINDING AUTHORITY ON ALL ITS MEMBERS AND OVER THE ACTS carried out in its territory.
- Third the MEMBERSHIP is usually given by birth.
- Finally state can use FORCE if that is legally prescribed and permitted.
- For Weber the ‘POLITICAL SOCIETY’ is one whose EXISTENCE AND ORDER is continuously SAFE-GUARDED within a given TERRITORIAL AREA by THE THREAT AND APPLICATION OF PHYSICAL FORCE on the part of THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF. And a ‘political Society’ becomes a ‘STATE’ where it is able to exercise successfully a legitimate monopoly over the organized use of force within a given territory.
- WEBER OPPOSED TO MARX’S ECONOMIC DETERMINISM. According to Weber legal, religious and political institutions and their inter relationship has decisive significance to economic structures and economic development not vice-versa as seen by Marx. He took CONCENTRATION OF THE MEANS OF ADMINISTRATION as most important factor in the state. This in turn has close association with his typology of domination. Weber talks about three types of domination: charismatic, traditional and legal-rational. According to him these three types of domination coexist in any situation but it is likely that one or other will be domination. Weber says-rational domination is more predominant in modern state.
- According to Weber THE MODERN STATE IS LEGITIMATE IF PEOPLE BELIEVE IN ITS LEGITIMACY. Any three kind of domination can exist in modern state. We cannot choose between the three on any rational ground, each can be justified on its own ground. Each system justifies on itself; traditional domination justified by tradition, charismatic domination by charisma and in rational legal domination laws are legitimate if they are enacted according to the law. There is no overall or superior set of values by means of which we choose better or worse system.
- WEBER believed that in modern state any norm could be enacted as law with the expectation that it would be obeyed; government and government apparatus are bound by the abstract system that these laws comprise and justice is the application of this laws. In such a system of governance people hold authority, doing so by virtue of being temporary office bearers rather than possessing personal authority and people obey laws not the office bearers who enforced them. The state with a rational legal authority could not interfere with individual rights without the consent of the people through the duly elected representatives.
- For Weber BUREAUCRACY IS THE ORGANIZATIONAL APPARATUS OF THE MODERN STATE and the modern capitalist state is completely dependent upon bureaucratic organization for its continued existence. Weber describes the state as gaining its power in modernity by concentrating the means of administration in the hands of an absolute monarch. Bureaucratic set up developed, for example in ancient Egypt, when the monarch needed a permanent army, to ensure supplies of arms and military equipment.
- According to Weber these developments were the most important factors promoting the emergence of the modern state in which the expert officialdom, specialization based division of labour is wholly separated from ownership of its means of administration. Officials in modern, rational bureaucracies have little or no control over what they do since the rules and procedures of bureaucracies take on a life of their own, restricting the activities and decisions of those who work in them to the functions of the offices they fill. The bureaucracy become the ‘steel-hard housing’ in modern state.
- This growth of MODERN-RATIONAL STATE, which has its corpus of bureaucratic officials, IS NOT WHOLLY DERIVATIVE OF ECONOMIC RATIONALIZATION, but to some extent PRECEDED THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAPITALISM AS WELL AS CREATED CONDITION, WHICH PROMOTED ITS RISE. The head of the system of the legal authority or bureaucracy is the head of the state. And it can hold a position through appropriation, election or designated by succession. But even then his or her power is legally limited.
- ACCORDING TO WEBER, THOUGH RATIONALIZATION IS EVIDENT IN ECONOMIC LIFE, CULTURAL LIFE ETC. OF A SOCIETY IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY EVIDENT IN THE MODERN INSTITUTION OF ADMINISTRATION, MORE ESPECIALLY BUREAUCRACY. He says neither capitalism with its connection with liberalism nor state socialism with its formal commitment to social justice, can avoid the use of bureaucratic means of administrative domination. The impersonality and calculability characters of the bureaucracy are seen not only as constraining but also as extremely efficient in securing the popular compliance with the structures of domination. They are for Weber a key instance of the typical modern form of legitimate domination that is replacing the appeal of tradition as society’s predominant legitimating principle.
EMILE DURKHEIM ON STATE:
Durkheim discusses THE NATURE AND FEATURES OF THE STATE in his work Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. According to him the opposition of governing and the governed is central in political life. HIS VIEWS ON STATE ARE VERY MUCH ASSOCIATED TO HIS EXPLANATION OF DIVISION OF LABOUR AND TYPES OF SOLIDARITY. Durkheim traced the development of the state to the division of labour in the society, AS SOCIETIES BECAME MORE COMPLEX there occurred the distinction between GOVERNING AND GOVERNED, which in turn resulted in the FORMATION OF STATE.
For Durkheim THE FUNCTION OF STATE was to MEDIATE BETWEEN DIFFERENT INTERESTS and in particular TO PROTECT THE INDIVIDUAL AGAINST THE POWER OF SMALLER GROUPS. That is how state protects individual and balance group interests.
- Mechanical solidarity is the trademark of less developed or primitive society where division of labour is very little. Whereas societies with highly developed division of labour are held together by organic solidarity. For Durkheim there was no politics or state existed in primitive societies because there was no or little division of labour and hence no grouping into government and governed.
- At the same time he argues that the division of a social group into governing and governed to not only exist in states; there is a similar division in the patriarchal household as well. Durkheim tries to make a distinction between state and such organization. The size and control of a determinate territory will distinguish state from such organization.
- For Durkheim the crucial feature of a state is that IT CONTROLS NOT NECESSARILY LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE but a number of different SECONDARY SOCIAL GROUPINGS. THE STATE IS THE ORGANIZATION OF OFFICIALS CONCERNED WITH GOVERNING THESE SECONDARY GROUPS. It is not an embodiment of society as whole, but specialized institutions.
- Durkheim next takes up THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE STATE OF THE INDIVIDUAL. This according Durkheim, is not an issue in societies where MECHANICAL SOLIDARITY dominated where individuals were absorbed into the social whole; But as ORGANIC SOLIDARITY develops, the power of the state develops so also the rights of the individuals. THE GROWTH OF THE STATE DOES NOT THREATEN BUT ENABLES THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS.
- Durkheim makes a clear distinction between SOCIETY AND THE STATE. Every society is dynamic. As societies become more complex, then there is a need for individuals to move from one group to other group and need to prevent the secondary groups exercising despotic control over its members, it is the function of the state to provide this need. Durkheim’s argument was that the individual members of society felt their commitment to society, the function of the state was to create and protect the space where the individuals could exercise such responsibility.
- For Durkheim society is ‘sui generous’. His notion of society dominated everything else’ society exists over and above the individual over whom it exercises an immense power. This notion of society reflects in his idea about state also. For Durkheim STATE essentially is a MEDIATOR BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL AND SECONDARY GROUPS. The secondary groups are developed in society, as the division becomes more sophisticated as in modern society. The secondary groups mediate between society and the individual just as state mediates between the individual and secondary group.
In modern times the nation is THE LARGEST EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY WHICH IS PERMEATED BY A CONSCIOUSNESS OF A COMMON KIND. Some writers equate nation with statehood and opine that people of a state are a nation. Hans Kohn, Frederick Hertz, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels have recognized that the nation is distinctly an historical phenomenon. All these writers and thinkers agree that the nation is an historical and sociological phenomenon and the nation evolved out of the amalgam of various racial and kinship groups after the break up of slavery and feudal societies.
- NATION is defined as A GROUP OF PEOPLE COHESIVELY ATTACHED WITH EACH OTHER by the fact of BELONGING TO ONE RACE, LANGUAGE, RELIGION, CULTURE, GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION etc. and have SIMILAR POLITICAL AMBITIONS AND UNIFORM HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT. The feeling attached with it is called NATIONALITY.
- But this definition connotes a narrow meaning, which when applied in the state as a whole, divides it in different nations which eventually create many bad consequences. FOR EXAMPLE, emergence of many conflicting and separatist activities and related demands, subsequently the state faces many serious problems, e.g., in India, demands of Khalistan, Kashmir, North-East states etc.
- Such Problems have been seen worldwide. Therefore some symbols were used as a solution to bring uniformity so that a nationality could develop for the whole state, eg., national emblem, national anthem, national language, national game, animal and bird etc. to develop one culture in a state.
FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR EMERGENCE OF NATION:
There are some objective factors whose presence has been helpful in evolving the nation. It is at the same time asserted that the presence of each or any of them is not absolutely indispensable. The more important of such factors are: THE COMMUNITY OF COMMON LANGUAGE, GEOGRAPHICAL AND COMMON ECONOMIC TIES AND COMMON HISTORY AND TRADITIONS. But there is no unanimity even in respect of them. According to PROFESSOR MACLVER there are scarcely any two nations which find their positive support in the same objective factors.
- RACE AND KINSHIP: While it is true that ‘unity of race and kinship helps in cementing people together’, to argue that ‘such unity is an indispensable objective factor is unacceptable’. F.Schuman points out if pure races ever existed they have long since disappeared as a result of migrations, wars, conquests, travels over thousands of years. All modern nations have been formed out of peoples of diverse racial and tribal groups. India’s unity in Diversity and America’s ‘Melting Pot’ theories are the best examples.
- COMMUNITY OF RELIGION: Unity of religion has been and can be a great cementing force and has played a significant role in the past in consolidating nations. The modern nation is a territorial community. It includes and embraces all persons of ethnic stock and religious faith residing on a permanent basis on the same territory and therefore also participants in the history and traditions of the land. In this age of democracy and secularism to advance religion as an objective factor indispensable for the formation of a nation is to encourage religious bigotry and persecution and thereby to undermine the very foundations of secular democracy.
- COMMON HISTORY OR TRADITIONS: The possession of a common language, geographical contiguity and common economic ties are bonds which make the people living together share same experiences and develop a certain amount of common outlook and also have common aspirations. This creates among them a common psychological make-up or character. The character of people is a reflection of the conditions of life they have lived and led together. The reference to national character does not negate the existence of individual variations.
- COMMUNITY OF ECONOMIC TIES: This point was emphasized by Karl Marx. Since then its significance has been realized. When it was conceded that the nation was a historical and a sociological phenomenon, attention began to be paid to the conditions under which nations arise. A nation as a territorial community could not exist in the ancient period or in the ages of slavery and feudalism. The nation arises out of the fusion of clans, tribes and ethnic groups. It is the growth of exchange between regions and the creation of a home market which leads to the creation of nationalities.
- In MODERN SOCIETY, viewing nation and state separately would keep on creating anomalies, its realisation led the thinkers and planners to INTEGRATE THE TWO TO UNDERSTAND THE REAL MEANING OF THESE TWO CONCEPTS. In this way, the concept that developed, would understand state in reference to nation and nation in reference to state as NATION-STATE. Therefore, no step would be taken to create regional and so cultural imbalance. Finally, integration would be the best effort to tackle any problem related with unadjustment. In this context, India’s unity in Diversity and America’s ‘Melting Pot’ theories are the best examples.
- A NATION is a nationality which has organized itself into a political body either independent or desiring to be independent. The state is a territorially organized people. NATION is a group of people who feel their uniqueness and oneness which they are keen to maintain. If this group of people happen to organize themselves on a particular territory and desire independence or are independent they form a nation state.
- THE MEMBERS OF A STATE MAY BELONG TO DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES.
- Nationality is subjective, statehood is objective.
- Nationality is psychological, statehood is political.
- Nationality is a condition of mind whereas statehood is a condition of law.
- Nationality is a spiritual possession whereas statehood is an enforceable obligation.
- Sovereignty is emphasized as an essential element of state but not of nation.
- NATION SIGNIFIES CONSCIOUSNESS OF UNITY PROMPTED BY PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL FEELINGS WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE SOVEREIGN. The physical element of sovereignty is not as important as the psychological element of the feeling of oneness.
The Growth of Nation State- Competition and Conflict Theory:
Nation state was born of competition and conflict. The Hundred Years War gave rise to two rival groups across the English Channel each feeling a consciousness of kind –the English and the French. The War of Roses gave rise to a united English nation under the Tudor dictatorship. Rivalry in discovery and piracy on the high seas cemented national solidarity among the participants –the English, the French, the Portuguese, and the Spaniards. The American nation was born of conflict. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity of French Revolution overran most of Europe and thereby sowed the seeds of national consciousness among the defeated countries. The German nation was born of conflict of war with France. The Italian nation under Mazzini and Garibaldi came into being as a resurgent movement in protest against Austrian domination.
The Growth of Democratic Nation State:
The idea of democratic nation state is of recent growth. POLITICALLY THE FIRST STEP WAS THE UNIFICATION OF ALL AUTHORITY IN THE HANDS OF POWERFUL CENTRALIZED INDEPENDENT MONARCHIES which took the place of ineffective and petty feudal authorities. After innumerable conflicts the principle of state absolutism became supreme in Europe. All the great reformers of enjoined on their followers passive obedience to the state. They held that the rulers to whom obedience was due ruled by divine right. In England their teaching paved the way for Tudor and Stuart despotism.
- Such despotism however did not remain unchallenged. THE PEOPLE WITH THE GROWTH OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND REALIZATION OF THEIR POWER AND IMPORTANCE SLOWLY STARTED OBTAINING CERTAIN RIGHTS FROM THE RULERS. THE MONARCH LOST HIS STATUS OF A SUPERIOR BEING WITH DIVINE RIGHTS. Royal absolutism was no longer necessary once the object of bringing order and unity was fulfilled. POLITICAL PARTIES grew stronger and developed into open organizations representing liberal attitudes on various questions of interest to the constitutional group.
- THE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT STARTED IN SOME COUNTRIES, somewhere it was violent whereas in some monarchs willingly yielded to the popular will and were content to remain as figureheads under a democratic government. The sovereignty of the people became recognized and the democratic nation state came to be established.
NATIONALISM: Nationalism is a state of mind that seeks to make the nation an effective unity and the object of man’s supreme loyalty. It has developed in the western world and is today growing in the other parts of the world. It has prepared the way for modern democratic nation states. It has extended the area of national liberty and individual freedom. Nationalism serves as a source of integration within the state but it is dangerous when it denies the common interest that binds nation to nation. Then it becomes ethnocentrism or chauvinism which is intolerant or imperialism which seeks territorial expansion and political domination. When nationalism cuts one people from another ,it impedes the development of harmonious intergroup of international relations and sows the seeds of international rivalry and wars. In its pure form, nationalism may be binding ideal but in its narrow form it becomes a cause of serious division between nations. Nationalism is a long historical process with strong sentiments attached to it. In the words of Hayes: nationalism when it becomes synonymous with the purest patriotism will prove a unique blessing to humanity and to the world.
NATIONALITY IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL DISPOSITION OR SENTIMENT. According to ZIMMERMANN nationality like religion is subjective psychological, a condition of mind, a spiritual possession, a way of feeling, thinking and living. Nationality is an instinct. It is a cultural concept. It springs from a heritage of memories whether of great achievement and glory of disaster and suffering. MACLVER defined nationality as a type of community sentiment created by historical circumstances and supported by common psychological factors to such an extent and so strong that those who feel it desire to have a common government peculiarly or exclusively their own.
The state exists to promote the welfare of the individual. The individual members of a state have been called, in recent times, its citizens. Etymologically considered, ‘citizenship’, implies the fact of residence in a city (i. e., a city-state). A ‘citizen’ means one who lives in a city. But, now-a-days, the world has come to have a much larger meaning. We say ‘a citizen of India’ although India is not a city. So a citizen means member of a community, or a State. Just as a man owes a duty to his father and mother, so a citizen owes a duty to the State. For the State is more than father and mother. When one is young one goes on making demands on one’s parents. But when one grows up one realizes that one owes service and sacrifice to one’s parents and elders. It is the same with a citizen. When a citizen is young in citizenship, he makes a demands on the State and expects everything to be done for him.
Citizenship consists not merely in enjoying certain rights and guarantees, but also in discharging one’s obligations conscientiously. There should be a desire to contribute one’s mite to the welfare of society manifested in an active participation in public affairs for the improvement of cultural, political and material aspects of social life. Without such participation citizenship is meaningless. It aims at the common good as distinct from exclusively sectional good. It depends not only upon enlightenment but also on a high average of character—a character essentially social in its make-up, a spontaneous regard for the happiness and welfare of others as LASKI puts it, “the contribution of one’s instructed judgment to public good.”
Citizenship has been defined as the LEGAL STATUS OF MEMBERSHIP OF A STATE. THE LEGAL STATUS signified a SPECIAL ATTACHMENT BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE POLITICAL COMMUNITY. With the creation of the modern state, CITIZENSHIP came to signify certain equality with regard to the rights and duties of membership to the state. The modern state began to administer citizenship. State determines who gets citizenship, what the associated benefits are, and what rights and privileges it entails. As a legal status, citizenship has come to imply a unique, reciprocal, and unmediated relationship between the individual and the political community. Citizenship, in short, is nothing less than the right to have rights.
WHO IS A CITIZEN?
In brief a citizen is A PERSON WHO ENJOYS RIGHTS AND PERFORMS HIS DUTIES IN A STATE. Anyone who lives in India is not an Indian citizen. Because besides citizens, aliens also live here. Therefore, EVERY INHABITANT OF THE COUNTRY IS NOT A CITIZEN.
- A citizen is one who is a MEMBER OF THE STATE AND WHO PARTICIPATES IN THE PROCESS OF GOVERNMENT. In a democratic society THERE MUST BE TWO WAY TRAFFIC BETWEEN THE CITIZENS AND THE GOVERNMENT.
- All GOVERNMENTS DEMAND CERTAIN DUTIES FROM ITS CITIZENS AND ALL CITIZENS HAVE TO OBSERVE THOSE DUTIES. But in turn, THE STATE MUST ALSO ADMIT SOME DEMANDS OF ITS CITIZEN ON ITSELF.
- SUBJECT in Non DEMOCRATIC STATES: People who live in States which are not democratic often do not enjoy political right. In such a State the government expects the SUBJECTS to perform their duties to pay taxes, to obey laws do whatever else the government wants of them. But they cannot question STATE RULES or ask them to explain their STATE ACTION. Politics in these societies is like one way traffic. The government tells the people what to do and what not to do but does not listen to them in return. Only the rulers have rights. The ruled have none and hence they are not citizens.
DEMOCRACY AND CITIZENSHIP:
Historically, the term ‘CITIZEN’ WAS LINKED WITH THE RISE OF DEMOCRACY. The demand for democratic government came up first in a few western societies, like England, France and the United States of America. Democracy means that everybody should have political rights. When one has political rights, the right to vote and the right to participate in decisionmaking on important questions facing one’s society, one is a CITIZEN.
- Of course, all these ideas did not grow up all of a sudden. It took a long time for them to mature. They grew up gradually. UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE A SYSTEM in which literally everybody can vote – is a fairly recent development. THE IDEALS OF DEMOCRACY MADE PEOPLE FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS AGAINST MONARCHICAL GOVERNMENT. Many of the ideas of which democracy is made up are accepted after great revolutions. For instance, after the revolution of 1789 France became a republic. All citizens, it was said, were equal: they had equal rights. Not surprisingly, the word ‘citizen’ was made popular by the French Revolution in 1789. Later on, this word was used whenever democracies were set up.
- At present IT IS COMMON TO TREAT PEOPLE IN DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES AS ‘CITIZENS’. It means that in relation to the government, THE INDIVIDUALS ARE ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROCESS OF GOVERNANCE. They not only obey and listen to what the government says the government must also listen to them in turn.
- IN democratic state CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINION FREELY, TO BE CONSULTED AND TO BE INVOLVED IN THE POLITICS OF THE COUNTRY. In democratic politics, the common human being no longer is treated as an outsider.
- A DEMOCRATIC STATE PARTICULARLY DEPENDS ON THE QUALITY OF ITS CITIZENS. If citizens do not take interests in politics, a democratic state might also gradually become undemocratic.
- Conversely DEMOCRACY CAN BE STRENGTHENED IF THE CITIZENS HAVE A CLEAR VIEW OF OTHER OWN RIGHTS AND THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS; if they demand what they can claim from the government; and if they know what the government can claim from them.
- Many social evils cannot be fought only by the government passing laws against them. There is a NEED TO CREATE AN INTENSE SOCIAL OPINION AMONG CITIZENS AGAINST SUCH SOCIAL EVILS. A society is after all made by humans and not by laws.
- One essential condition for A DEMOCRATIC STATE IS THAT CITIZENS MUST PARTICIPATE IN THE GOVERNING PROCESS. The quality of democracy improves if citizen from all walks of life participate in its activities and if they take interest in the basic processes of making importance decisions for their society. Democracy implies that the decisions affecting the whole society should be taken as far as possible by the whole society by citizens participation.
- In a democracy, A GOOD CITIZEN IS ONE WHO IS CONSCIOUS OF BOTH RIGHTS AND DUTIES. For EXAMPLE, the right to vote is one of our most important rights and it is our duty also to exercise the right to vote. If a person does not vote she or he cannot be considered a good citizen, though otherwise she or he may be a good person.
- In a democracy, GOOD CITIZEN SHOULD NOT ONLY BE CONSCIOUS OF THEIR OWN RIGHTS ALONE, BUT ALSO GIVE THE GOVERNMENT WHAT IS ITS DUE THEY SHOULD OBEY LAWS THAT ARE MADE BY THE LEGISLATURE AND PAY TAXES. These are their duties towards the government. But they must also perform their duties to other citizens. And the most important duty of every citizen is to respect the rights of others. FOR EXAMPLE, Our Constitution gives everyone the right to practice one’s religion. Every citizen, should practice religion in her/his own way; but in doing so one must respect the right of other citizens to practice their religion in the way they like. The qualities of good citizens must, therefore, include a consciousness of their own right tolerance for others and respect for laws.
CITIZENSHIP: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE:
In the 19thC. Britain and USA provided the voting right even to commoners and eventually CIVIL RIGHTS were completed. In the countries like Sweden citizen’s rights were denied even till the advent of 20th C., which saw people fighting for their rights under socialist ideology and leadership, which subsequently created revolutionary socialism on the one hand, and achievement of citizen’s rights on the other. Similarly till Russian Revolution people were not provided equal rights to vote and freedom. In Germany civil rights were achieved late in 19th C. under the dominance of Reformative Democracy and non-revolutionary socialism.
British sociologist T.H. MARSHAL has first time wrote in details about citizenship and given the prime importance to class-struggle in modern states in which he included the ideas of Marx and Weber. Marshal envisages that CAPITALISM HAS INCREASED CLASS-STRUGGLE IN MODERN SOCIETIES. T. H. Marshall wrote a seminal essay on citizenship, titled “Citizenship and Social Class”. This was published in 1950. He analysed THE DEVELOPMENT OF CITIZENSHIP AS A DEVELOPMENT OF CIVIL, then POLITICAL, then SOCIAL RIGHTS. These were broadly assigned to the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries respectively.
- His distinctive contribution was to introduce THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL RIGHTS understood as the welfare rights. Social Rights are awarded not on the basis of class or need, but rather on the status of citizenship. He claimed that the extension of social rights does not entail the destruction of social classes and inequality. In Britain, citizenship was obtained at three stages:
- Urban Citizenship (Civil) – 18th Century: Equality before law, individual freedom, right of speech and religion, right to possess property and to obtain contracts.
- Political citizenship-19th Century: Right to vote and to be voted.
- Social Citizenship-20th Century : Complete participation of individuals in state.
- CRITICS CRITICIZED MARSHAL’S MODAL as only the description of British experiences and that it is silent on the issue of economic citizenship.
- Marxist critics point out that Marshall’s analysis is superficial as it does not discuss the right of the citizen to control economic production, which they argue is necessary for sustained shared prosperity.
- From a feminist perspective, the work of Marshall is highly constricted in being focused on men and ignoring the social rights of women and impediments to their realisation.
- There is a debate among scholars about whether Marshall intended his historical analysis to be interpreted as a general theory of citizenship or whether the essay was just a commentary on developments within England.
- The essay has been used by editors to promote more equality in society, including the “Black” vote in the USA, and against Mrs. Thatcher in a 1992 edition prefaced by Tom Bottomore. It is an Anglo-Saxon interpretation of the evolution of rights in a “peaceful reform” mode, unlike the revolutionary interpretations of Charles Tilly, the other great theoretician of citizenship in the twentieth century, who bases his readings in the developments of the French Revolution.
Basically citizenship provides an identity which further gives opportunity for some evils like regionalism, communalism etc to develop. Global citizenship can play an important role in abolishing these evils. In fact, globalization is creating a cultural uniformity worldwide and this would further nationality to diminish the identity related with soil and blood.
Great efforts are made to maintain one’s cultural identity in dual citizenship which is an indication of narrow-mindedness. In most of the cases it is provided for material gains and facilities. There is hardly the feeling of love and attachment to the soil in it. But it can be used to strengthen relation between any two countries.
CITIZENSHIP: RIGHTS AND DUTIES:
- Harold J. Laski opines that every state is recognized by its rights. The state is not only a sovereign institution liable for citizen’s discipline having the power of obeying the orders but some additional powers and morality are also instilled in the state.
- The way citizens have certain responsibilities towards the state, state also has certain responsibilities towards citizens like availing them those opportunities necessary for their physical, mental and moral development. In this way it is a two-way process which develops and maintains a healthy and balanced society.
The Term ‘Democracy’ has been in use in the tradition of Western political thought since ancient times. It is derived form the Greek root ‘demos which means ‘the people’; ‘cracy’ stands for ‘rule’ or ‘government’. Thus, literally, democracy signifies ‘the rule of the people’. Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy is very close to its literal meaning. It reads; ‘Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.’ In short, democracy as a form of government implies that the ultimate authority of government is vested in the common people so that public policy is made to conform to the will of the people and to serve the interests of the people.
Democracy in its basic meaning is therefore a political system in which the people, not monarch or aristocracies, rule. This sounds straightforward enough, but it is not. Democratic rule has taken contrasting forms at varying periods and in different societies, depending on how the concept is interpreted……. For example, ‘the people’ has been variously understood to mean all men, owners of property, white men, educated men, and adult men and women. In some societies the officially accepted version of democracy is limited to the political sphere, whereas in others it is extended to broader areas of social life.
The form that democracy takes in a given context is largely an outcome of how its values and goals are understood and prioritized. Democracy is generally seen as the political system which is most able to ensure political equality, protect liberty and freedom, defend the common interest, meet citizens’ needs, promote moral self-development and enable effective decision-making which takes everyone’s interests into account (Held). The weight that is granted to these various goals may influence whether democracy is regarded first and foremost as a form of popular power (self-government and self regulation) or whether it is seen as a framework for supporting decision-making by others (such as a group of elected representatives.)
- In participatory democracy (or direct democracy), decision are made communally by those affected by them. This was the original type of democracy practiced in ancient Greece. Those who were citizens, a small minority of the society, regularly assembled to consider policies and make major decision, Participatory democracy is of limited importance in modern societies, where the mass of the population have political rights, and it would be impossible for everyone actively to participate in the making of all the decisions that affect them.
- Yet some aspects of participatory democracy do play a part in modern societies. Small communities in New England, in the north-eastern part of the United States, continue the traditional practice of annual ‘town meetings’.
- Another example of participatory democracy is the holding of referenda, when the people express their views on a particular issue. Direct consultation of large numbers of people is made possible by simplifying the issue down to one or two questions to be answered. Referenda are regularly used at the national level in some European countries to inform important policy decisions. There were referenda in several European countries in 2005 over whether they should sign up to the proposed European Constitution.
- Practicalities render participatory democracy unwieldy on a large scale, except in specific instances such as a special referendum More common today is representative democracy, political system in which decisions affecting a community are taken, not by its members as a whole, but by people they have elected for this purpose. In the area of national government, representative democracy takes the form of election to congresses, parliaments of similar national bodies. Representative democracy also exists at other levels where collective decisions are taken, such as in provinces or states within an overall national community, cities, counties, boroughs and other regions. Many large organizations chose to run their affairs using representative democracy by elective a small executive committee to take key decisions.
- Countries in which voters can choose between two or more parties and in which the mass of the adult population has the right to vote are usually called liberal democracies. Britain and the other Western European countries, the USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and fall into this category. Many countries, in the developing world, such as India, also have liberal democratic systems, and, as we shall see, this number is growing.
CLASSICAL NOTION OF DEMOCRACY:
Democracy has a long tradition. But the notions regarding its essence and grounds of its justification have been revised from time to time. Plato and Aristotle saw democracy at work in some of ancient Greek city-state, especially at Athens. Its salient features were:
- Equal participation by all freemen in the common affairs of the polis (city-state) which was regarded as an essential instrument of good life;
- Arriving at public decisions in an atmosphere of free discussion; and
- General respect for law and for the established procedures of the community. The Greeks took pride in their customary law and admiringly distinguished it from the ‘arbitrary rule’ prevalent among the ‘barbarians’.
However, the form of democracy prevalent in ancient Greek city-states was by no means regarded as an ideal rule. Plato decried democracy because the people were not properly equipped with education ‘to select the best rulers and the wisest courses’. Democracy enabled the men with the gift of eloquence and oratory to get votes of the people and secure public office, but such men were thoroughly selfish and incompetent who ruined the state. Then, Aristotle identified democracy as ‘the rule of the many’, that is, of the more numerous members of the community, particularly, the poor ones. In his classification of governments into normal and perverted forms, Aristotle placed democracy among perverted forms since it signified the rule of the mediocre seeking their selfish interests, not the interests of the state. Aristotle observed that no form of government prevalent during his times was stable and this led to frequent upheavals. In his search for a stable form of government.
CONCEPT OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY:
Liberal democracy today is distinguished from other forms of political system by certain principles and characteristics, that is, its procedure and institutional arrangements. Institutions are necessary for the realization of principles; without principles, the institutions might be reduced to a mere formality. The two must go together. Liberal democracy works on certain principles and certain mechanisms. Broadly speaking, principles of liberal democracy include;
- Government by consent;
- Public accountability;
- Majority rule;
- Recognition of minority rights; and
- Constitutional Government.
- Government by Consent: Democracy is government by consent of the people. Rational consent can be obtained by persuasion for which an atmosphere of free discussion is essential. Any regime where the consent of the people is sought to be obtained without freedom expression of divergent opinions, does not qualify for being called a ‘democracy’ even if it maintains certain democratic institutions. In view of the highly technical nature, the large volume and urgency of governmental decision, it is impractical to consult the people on every detail of every policy. However, discussion of the broad issues is indispensable. Discussion is usually held at two levels
- Among the representatives of the people in the legislative assemblies where members of the opposition have their full say; and
- At the public level where there is direct communication between the leadership and the people. Democratic lines of policy as the ruling parties are bound to seek a fresh mandate of the people at regular intervals.
- Public Accountability: Liberal democracy, based on the consent of the people, must constantly, remains answerable to the people who created it.
- John Locke who thought of governments as a ‘trustee’ of the power vested in it by the people for the protection of their natural right of life, liberty and property, nevertheless, felt that it could. not be fully trusted. He wanted the people to remain constantly vigilant. He thought of the people as a householder who appoints a watchman for protecting his house, and then, he himself keeps awake to keep a watch on the watchman’.
- Jeremy Bentham envisaged liberal democracy as a political apparatus that would erasure the accountability of the governors to the governed. For Bentham both governors and the governed, as human beings, want to maximize their happiness. Then governors, who are endowed with power, may tend to abuse it in their self-interest. Hence, in order to prevent the abuse of their power. Governors should be directly accountable to an electorate who will frequently check whether their objectives have been reasonably net.
- John Stuart Mill significantly observed that ‘the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others’. Mill identified the appropriate region of human liberty as including liberty of thought, feeling, discussion and publication, liberty of tastes and pursuits, and liberty of association or combination, provided it causes no harm to others. He asserted that liberty and democracy, taken together, create the possibility of ‘human excellence’.
- Jean-Jaques Rousseau the exponent of popular sovereignty postulated public accountability of government in a different way. In his concept of the ‘social contract’, sovereignty not only originates in the people, it continues to stay with the people in the civil society. People give their consent to vest their sovereignty in the ‘general will’ which represents their own higher self. As a votary of ‘direct democracy’ Rousseau is convinced that sovereignty cannot be represented. In his words, “the people’s deputies are not, and could not be, its representatives; they are merely its agents; and they cannot decide anything finally.” Rousseau commended an active, involved citizenry in the process of government and law-making.
- Majority Rule: In Modern representative democracies, decisions are taken in several, bodies – legislatures, committees, cabinets and executive or regulative bodies. Majority rule means that in all these decision-making bodies, from the electorate to the last committee, the issues are to be resolved by voting. Political equality is secured by the principle of ‘one man, one vote’, which implies that there will be no privileged section whose voice is ignored. No discrimination is allowed on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, ownership of property, and even educational qualifications. Any restriction of suffrage should be based on sound reason, that is, where the ballot cannot be used in a rational and responsible manner, such as, in the case of convicted criminals, mental patients, and person below a legally fixed age. The principle of majority rule relies on the wisdom of the majority. Minority opinion has the option to enlist the support of larger numbers by persuasion in an atmosphere off free discussion.
- Recognition of Minority Rights: The principles of majority rule by no means implies the suppression of minorities. In modern nation-states, there may be several racial, religious, linguistic or cultural minorities who fear discrimination or the tyranny of the majority. Minority grievances may take many forms ranging from psychological insults over discrimination in housing, education and employment to physical persecution and genocide. Legal safeguards are, therefore, considered essential for the realization of the democratic principles because their presence helps to raise the level of awareness of both majority and minority and thus promote a favourable climate for democratic politics.
- Constitutional Government: Constitutional government means a ‘government by laws’ rather than by men. Democracy requires an infinitely complex machinery of process; procedures and institutions of translate the majority will into action. It makes enormous demands on the time, goodwill and integrity of its citizens and public servants. Once the prescribed procedure is set aside, even for a legitimate purpose, it can set a precedent that may be followed for pursuing illegitimate purposes, and the flood-gates of corruption might be thrown wide open. It is therefore, essential to have a well-established tradition of law and constitution for the stability of a democratic government.
THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY:
- More than One Political Party Freely Competing for Political Power: Liberal democracy seeks reconciliation between varying interests and ideologies of different groups. There is no fixed method of securing the reconciliation. When there is a free competition between more than one political party for power, the people get an opportunity to consider various alternative policies. Programmes and personalities to exercise their choice. According to this test singleparty system do not qualify as democracies. The former Soviet Union and the present People’s Republic of China cannot be treated as democracies as they conceded monopoly of power of their respective Communist Parties, in spite of a facade of periodic election.
- Political Offices Not Confined to any Privileged Class: In a liberal democracy a political office or public office can be acquired only through the support of the people, not by birth, tradition of anybody’s favour. This feature of democracy distinguishes it from feudalism, monarchy and despotism, etc. In a democracy all citizens enjoy equal rights and status. Any citizen can have access to political office by following the prescribed procedure and fulfilling certain conditions. Political office can be held only for a limited period which must be relinquished on completion of one’s term or other exigency, such a s dissolution of the legislature, one’s own resignation, etc. Some qualifications, such as, age, education, etc. may be prescribed for the candidates of a political office, but nobody can be declared unfit for any office on grounds of caste, creed, sex, language, region, etc. However, in order to secure due representation for all strata of the population, some seats in the decision-making bodies can be reserved for minorities or weaker section, It is believed that such provision would strengthen democracy rather than weaken it.
- Periodic Election Based on Universal Adult Franchise: Since representative government is the only practicable method of establishing democracy in the present-day world, periodic elections become necessary for this purposes. Each citizen should have the right to vote on attaining the prescribed age (say, 18 years); nobody should be disqualified on grounds of caste, creed, sex, language, region, etc. It is true that the principle of universal adult franchise was introduced in modern democracies only gradually, but today it is regarded a necessary condition of democracy. Periodic elections require that the people’s representatives should be chosen for a limited period (say four or five years) so that the party that comes to power is able to implement its policy and programme, but it is obliged to renew the confidence of the people to continue in power. At the same time, the opposition should have an opportunity to bring any shortcomings of the ruling party to the notice of the people, to offer alternative policy and programme with a view to winning the next election.
- Protection of Civil Liberties: The protection of civil liberties, such as freedom of thought and expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and association, and personal freedom, i.e. freedom from arbitrary arrest, is an essential characteristic of liberal democracy. On the one hand, these freedoms enable the citizens to form interests groups and other organizations to influence government decisions; on the other hand, they ensure independence of the mass media, particularly the press, from government control. Without civil liberties, will of the people cannot be translated into public policy and decision. Civil liberties, therefore, constitute the core of democracy.
- Independence of the Judiciary: Freedom of the people cannot be secured in the face of concentration of governmental powers in any organ. Liberal democracy, therefore, insists on the separation of powers between different organs of government. While the legislature and executive in a democracy are dominated by politicians, Judges are appointed on merit and they cannot be removed from office in consequence of sudden changes in the political climate of the country. Independence of judiciary enables the judges to pronounce their verdict without fear or favour.
CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL WORKING OF DEMOCRACY:
Democracy as a form of government cannot function properly unless it is supported by suitable socio-economic and cultural factors. In the contemporary world, democracy has been adopted as a form of government in a large number of countries. It is not equally successful everywhere. The successful working of democracy depends upon many conditions. Some of the important conditions may be described as follows:
- National Sentiment: Some thinkers have pointed out that national homogeneity is essential condition for the success of democracy. For instance, John Stuart Mill (1806-73) in his Representative Government (1861) suggested that a mono-national state is essential for the success of democracy. A large number of states have emerged on the globe since J.S. Mill wrote his Representative Government. Most of these states include people belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures. Democracy is working successfully in many such states. What is therefore needed for the success of democracy is not the uniformity of the people as a nationality but the sense of belonging to a single nation, inspired by the feeling of having a common history, common life in the present and a common future as also a common centre of loyalty.
- Spirit of Toleration: True national sentiment cannot be created without the spirit of toleration. In fact, the spirit of toleration is the keynote of democracy. In a democracy we do not demand conformity nor assimilation, but different groups are expected to coexist in spite of their differences. We are free to win others by persuation and discussion, not by force or blackmail. The minority is expected to respect the majority; the majority is expected to accommodate minority with full dignity.
- High Moral Character: High moral character of the people as well as leaders is another condition for the success of democracy. If people are led by their narrow self interests, or leaders are led by mere opportunism, democracy is bound to give way to demagogy, that is, the practice of leaders playing with the emotions of the people instead of appealing to reason. On the country, a sense of morality and discipline will make the people active in solving social problems more effectively.
- Widespread Education: An educated electorate is an asset to democracy. Generally the people could be literate if not highly educated so that they are able to learn more and exercise their judgment in the matters of common concern. Free access to the media of mass communication is provided within the democratic structure itself. Only a literate, preferably an educated, electorate can make best use of this facility. For the fulfillment of this condition, the state itself should provide for universal education.
- Economic Security and Equality: Lack of economic security in the masses is bound to undermine the people’s faith in democracy. Similarly, vast economic disparities are bound to destroy the sense of equal dignity of individuals. In fact, democracy without a reasonable level of economic security and equality is a force.
In addition to this, other scholars have also come out with their view point on the subject. Borrowing from Robert Dahl’s classic work on democracy, Alfred Stepan, states that among the basic requirements for democracy “is the opportunity to formulate preferences, to signify preferences, and to have these preferences weighted adequately in the conduct of government.” According to Robert Dhal for the proper functioning of the government, it should ensure the following institutional guarantees which includes;
- Freedom of association and expression :
- The right to vote :
- run for public office;
- free and fair elections;
- the right of political leaders to complete for support and votes;
- alternative sources of information;
- policy making institutions dependent on votes;
- Other expression of preference.
However, while accepting the importance of these institutional guarantees, Stepan considers them as a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the functioning of democracy. Not sufficient, because no matter how free and fair the elections, and no matter how large the majority of the government, the political society lacks quality unless it is able to produce a constitution that provides for fundamental liberties, minority rights, and a set of institutions and checks and balances that limit state power and ensure accountability, necessary for any given democratic system.
Think about the country that you live in – what does it take to make that country operate smoothly? The government takes care of law and order and businesses offer goods and services in exchange for money, which both help to keep a society moving. But what about other groups, like temples, churches or the NGOs, how do they contribute to your society? These other groups actually play a very big part in how your country operates, and they fall into a category known as civil society.
- A civil society is comprised of groups or organizations working in the interest of the citizens but operating outside of the governmental and for-profit sectors. Organizations and institutions that make up civil society include labor unions, non-profit organizations, churches, and other service agencies that provide an important service to society but generally ask for very little in return.
- Civil society is sometimes referred to as the civil sector, a term that is used to differentiate it from other sectors that comprise a functioning society. For example, the United States is made up of three sectors: the public sector, which is the government and its branches; the private sector, which includes businesses and corporations; and the civil sector, which includes the organizations that act in the public’s interest but are not motivated by profit or government.
- According to definition of civil society developed by a number of leading research centers: “the term civil society to refer to the wide array of non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations that have a presence in public life, expressing the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore refer to a wide of array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations”.
- The term ‘civil society’ can be traced through the works of Cicero and other Romans to the ancient Greek philosophers. IN ITS CLASSICAL USAGE civil society was largely equated with the state. THE MODERN IDEA of civil society found expression in the Scottish and Continental Enlightenment of the late 18th century.
- A range of political philosopher, from THOMAS PAINE TO GEORGE HEGEL, developed the NOTION OF CIVIL SOCIETY AS A DOMAIN PARALLEL TO BUT SEPARATE FROM THE STATE WHERE CITIZENS ASSOCIATE ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN INTERESTS AND WISHES.
- HEGEL’S nineteenth-century notion of civil society included the market in contrast to contemporary concepts of civil society as a non- profit sector. This new definition reflected changing economic realities: the rise of private property, market competition and the bourgeoisie. It also resulted in the mounting popular demand for liberty, as manifested in the American English and French Revolutions.
- The terms, however, lost its concurrence in the mid-19th century as political philosopher and sociologists turned their attention to the social and political consequences of the industrial revolution. It bounced back into fashion after World War II through the writings of the Marxist theorist ANTONIO GRAMSCI who REVIVED THE TERM TO PORTRAY CIVIL SOCIETY AS A SPECIAL NUCLEUS OF INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ACTIVITY, A CRUCIAL SPHERE OF STRUGGLE AGAINST TYRANNY. Although Gramsci was concerned about dictatorships of the right, his books were influential in the 1970s and 1980s amongst persons fighting against dictatorships of all political stripes in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Czech, Hungarian, and Polish activists also wrapped themselves in the banner of civil society, endowing it with a heroic quality when the Berlin wall fell.
- IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY, The rise in popularity of civil society was LARGELY DUE TO THE STRUGGLES AGAINST TYRANNY WAGED BY RESISTANCE GROUPS IN LATIN AMERICA, AFRICA AND THE FORMER COMMUNIST WORLD. The period of 1980s and 1990s witnessed the advent of a global democratic revolution of unprecedented proportions, unions, women’s organisations, student groups and other forms of popular activism provided the resurgent and often rebellious civil societies in triggering the demise of many forms of dictatorship. There developments encouraged the rise of the complex notion that if an invigorated civil society could force a democratic transition, it could consolidate democracy as well.
- Recently DAVID HELD tried to give shape to the concept of civil society through a sociological definition. In his words, “Civil society retains a distinctive character to the extent that IT IS MADE UP OF AREAS OF SOCIAL LIFE- THE DOMESTIC WORLD, THE ECONOMIC SPHERE, CULTURAL ACTIVITIES AND POLITICAL INTERACTION – which are organisation by private or voluntary arrangements between individuals and groups outside the direct control of the state”. IN THE 1990S, CIVIL SOCIETY BECAME A MANTRA FOR EVERYONE FROM POLITICIANS TO POLITICAL SCIENTISTS. The global trend toward democracy opened up space for civil society in formerly dictatorial countries around the world. In the United States and Western Europe, PUBLIC FATIGUE WITH TIRED PARTY SYSTEMS SPARKED INTEREST IN CIVIL SOCIETY AS A MEANS OF SOCIAL RENEWAL.
- Especially IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD In Contemporary Society, PRIVATIZATION AND OTHER MARKET REFORMS OFFERED CIVIL SOCIETY THE CHANCE TO STEP IN AS GOVERNMENTS RETRACTED THEIR REACH. And the information revolution provided new tools for forging connections and empowering citizens. Civil society became a key element of the post- cold-war society.
THE SCOPE OF CIVIL SOCIETY:
- The much of the current enthusiasm about civil society is its fascination with non- governmental organisations, especially ADVOCACY GROUPS DEVOTED TO PUBLIC INTEREST AND CAUSES AND ITS CONCERN FOR ENVIRONMENT HUMAN RIGHTS, WOMEN’S ISSUES, RIGHTS OF THE DISABLED, ELECTION MONITORING, ANTICORRUPTION, ETC.
- Whereas civil society is a much broader concept, ENCOMPASSING POLITICAL PARTIES AND THE MARKET ORIENTED ORGANISATION IT INCLUDES THE PLETHORA OF ORGANISATIONS THAT APART FROM NGOS LABOUR UNIONS PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS SUCH AS THOSE OF DOCTORS AND LAWYERS, CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE ETHNIC ASSOCIATIONS AND OTHERS. The list is all comprehensive.
- It also incorporates many OTHER ASSOCIATIONS THAT EXIST FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN ADVANCING SPECIFIC SOCIAL OR POLITICAL AGENDAS, SUCH AS RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS, STUDENT GROUPS, CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS SPORTS CLUBS AND INFORMAL COMMUNITY GROUPs.
- NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS do play important role in developed and developing countries. They help in formulating policy by exerting pressure on governments and by furnishing technical expertise to policy makers. They induce citizen participation and civic education. They provide leadership training to young people who want to engage in civic life but are apathetic towards political parties. In theocratic and dictatorial Religious organisation, cultural organisations and other groups often have a mass base in the populations and secure domestic sources of funding. Here, advocacy groups usually lack domestic funding.
- The burgeoning NGO sectors in such countries are often dominated by elite run groups that have only weak ties with the citizens and for their functioning they largely depend on international funders for budgets they cannot nourish from domestic source.
- Apart from these positive contours of civil society formation, IT IS WORTH POINTING OUT THAT THE MAFIA AND MILITIA GROUPS ARE ALSO AS MUCH AS PART OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY AS THE OTHER HUMANE ORGANISATIONS ARE. Some civil society enthusiasts have propagated the one sided notion that civil society consists only of noble causes and welfare action oriented programmes. Yet civil society everywhere is a mixture of the good, the bad, and the outright bizarre. If one limits civil society to those actors who pursue higher humane aims, the concept becomes a theological notion, not a political or sociological one which could inure the notion of society itself.
FUNCTIONS OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN A DEMOCRATIC ORDER:
LARRY DIAMOND in his article, ‘Rethinking Civil society, says, “Civil society plays a significant role in building and consolidating democracy. In Diamond’s view, civil society performs following important functions:
- TO LIMIT STATE POWER – By checking its political abuses and violations of the law and subjecting them to public scrutiny. Diamond maintains, “A vibrant civil society is probably more essential for consolidating and maintaining democracy than initiating it.”
- TO EMPOWER CITIZENS by “increasing the political efficacy and skill of the democratic citizen and promoting an appreciation of the obligations as well as rights of democratic citizenship”.
- TO INCULCATE AND PROMOTE AN ARENA FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRATIC ATTRIBUTES AMONGST THE CITIZENS SUCH AS TOLERANCE, MODERATION, WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE AND RESPECT FOR OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS. According to Diamond, this is an important function as it allows “traditionally excluded groups – such as women and racial or ethnic minorities –access to power that has been denied them in the upper echelons of formal politics.
- TO PROVIDE AVENUES FOR POLITICAL PARTIES AND OTHER ORGANISATIONS ALLOWING THEM OF ARTICULATE, AGGREGATE, AND REPRESENT THEIR INTEREST. This enhances the quality of democracy as “it generates opportunities for participation and influence at all levels of governance, not the least the local government.
- TO FUNCTION AS A RECRUITING, INFORMATIONAL AND LEADERSHIP GENERATING AGENCY ESPECIALLY IN ECONOMICALLY DEVELOPED SOCIETIES – where, Economic reform is sometimes necessary, but often difficult to bring about if it threatens vested economic interests. The massive economic collapse in Indonesia unleashed mass discontent and made President Suharto suddenly vulnerable. This transformed the environment to allow civil society groups and opposition parties to mobilize citizens in an unprecedented fashion.
- A WELL FOUNDED CIVIL SOCIETY COULD ACT AS A SHOCK OBSERVING INSTITUTION, where wide ranges of interest that may cross- cut and mitigate the principal polarities of political conflict.
- TO GENERATE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL SUPPORT FOR SUCCESSFUL ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL REFORMS which require the support of coalitions in society and the legislature.
- A WELL ROOTED CIVIL SOCIETY ALSO HELPS IN IDENTIFYING AND TRAIN NEW POLITICAL LEADERS as such; it can “play a crucial role in revitalizing the narrow and stagnant party dominated leadership recruitment patterns.
- ELECTION MONITORING – Many non- partisan organisations engage in election monitoring at home and abroad. Such efforts, sys Diamond, “have been critical in detecting fraud, enhancing voter confidence, affirming the legitimacy of the result, or demonstrating an opposition victory despite, government fraud. The Philippines in the mid 1980s and Panama in 1989s are cited as examples.
- STRENGTHENING CITIZEN ATTITUDES TOWARD THE STATE- civil society enhances “the accountability, responsiveness, inclusiveness, effectiveness, and hence legitimacy of the political system”. In so doing it gives citizens respect, for the state and positive involvement in it. Here civil society is crucial to the development and maintenance of stable, quality sensitive democracy.
In an article, ‘Civil society and Democracy in Global Governance’, DR. JAN AART SCHOLTE makes a comprehensive analysis of the concepts. She Scholte identifies six areas where civil society could advance democracy:
- PUBLIC EDUCATION – Awareness is key to any democratic system. The civil society might enhance democracy through educating the public. An informed citizenry could sustain effective democracy; civic associations can contribute a lot by raising public awareness and understanding of world wide existing laws and regulatory institutions. To accomplish this goal civil, society groups can prepare handbooks and information kits, produce audio visual presentations, organize workshops, circulate newsletters, supply information to and attract the attention of the mass media, maintain websites of the internet and develop curricular materials for schools and institutions of higher education.
- VOICE TO STAKEHOLDERS – Civil society could promote democratic governance by giving voice to stakeholders. Civic associations can opportune the concerned parties to relay information, testimonial, and analysis to governance agencies about their needs and demands. Civil society organisation can give voice to neglected social circles like the poor, women and persons with disability who tend to get a limited hearing through other channels including their elected representatives in executive and legislative bodies. In this way civic activism could empower stakeholders and mould politics toward greater participatory democracy.
- POLICY INPUTS – Government Policy formulation is considerably influenced from the inputs given by the civil society not only at home but also in sparking debate about the so- called ‘Washington Consensus. They have qualitative assessments of poverty, and pressurized for the schemes of debt reduction in the South.
- TRANSPARENCY OF GOVERNANCE – Vigilant civic mobilization can cause public transparency in governance. Constant pressure from civil society can help in bringing regulatory frameworks and operation into the open, where they could be accessed for public scrutiny. Generally citizens do not have the awareness about what decisions are taken by the government, by whom, from what options, on what grounds, with what expected results, and with what resources to support implementation. Civic groups through their well lit networks can question the currently popular official rhetoric of ‘transparency’ by asking critical questions about what is made transparent, at what time, in what forms, through what channels, on whose decision, for what purpose, and in whose interest.
- PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY – Civil society can hold various concerned agencies accountable to public. Civic groups can keep an eye on he implementation and effects of policies regarding people and press for corrective measures when the consequences are adverse. For example independent civic agencies have impartial policy evaluation mechanisms for the World Bank and the IMF. Whereby, they have more often criticized their policies towards the less Developed countries. The Western countries, which claim to be democratic in the behaviour, often while as a part of global player some times become far more dictatorial than those whom they criticize and put sanctions against them. Here, the civic agencies through an accountability function can push authorities in global governance to take greater responsibility for their actions and policies.
- LEGITIMACY – The sum total of the preceding actions by the civil society could lead to a legitimate democratic rule. Legitimate rule prevails when people concede that an authority has a right to govern and that they have a duty to obey its directives. As a result of such consent, legitimate governance tends to be more easily, productively and nonviolently executed than illegitimate and dictatorial authority.
Relationship between Civil Society and Democracy:
The civil society should have a larger AGENDA OF DEMOCRACY AS A POLICY OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE. The civil society not only could promote democracy at home, their impact could be clearly seen in the democratization of global order. Apart from this, the international concerns for human rights, women rights, rights of the disabled and concerns for environment have great impact on the domestic policy formulation and its implementation too. For example, various development related NGOs and think – tanks, who lobby for global debt relief and socially sustainable structural adjustment, have gone on to scrutinize public finances in national and local governments. In addition to this, women’s movements have often used international laws and institutions in their favour to democratize the state on gender lines. The rights of the persons with disability also get impetus from international concerns for human rights. In all these matters civil society Civil society can offer a means for citizens to affirm that global governance arrangements.
- It is emphasized here that in certain conditions civil society can contribute to the democratization of authoritarian regimes and can help to sustain a democratic system of governance once it is established. For example in the Eastern European countries, South Africa, Serbia, Philippines, in Georgia, recently in Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, citizens have used civil society organisations to wage struggle for political independence by learning about democracy and by mobilizing millions of their fellow citizens against repressive regimes.
- Democratic setup, civil society organisations provide basis for citizens to pursue common interests in political, social, or spiritual, domain, citizens learn about fundamental democratic values of participation and collective action and they further disseminate these values within their community civil society movements that represent citizen interests can considerably influence both government policy and social attitudes. Independent activities of the civil society can pause a counter weight to state power.
THE DEMOCRATIC DANGERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY:
Civil society’s contribution to democracy in domestic as well as global governance is well placed in context. But here it must be noted that civil society might in certain ways actually detract from democratic governance of international relations. Seven general negative possibilities can be identified.
- CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVITIES MAY NOT ESSENTIALLY PURSUE DEMOCRATIC PURPOSEThough the term civil society at the outset seems to convey elements of civility and virtue, but in practice, elements of such organisations may themselves in subverting democracy for example, some civic organisations can work to promote their private petty interests and privileges. The destructive groups engaged in promoting racism, ultra- nationalism and religious fundamentalism work contrary to the democratic rights of others. Thos parts of the Islamic sector that are politically relevant, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, have not pushed for democracy in a comprehensive fashion.
- CIVIL SOCIETY MIGHT DRAW AWAY FROM DEMOCRACY IF ITS EFFORTS ARE POORLY PLANNED AND DESIGNED OR EXECUTED – if the said activist function without understanding the institutional arrangement of governance, they could cause real harm to the very objectives of their organisation. Even academicians may fail to link their theoretical models of universal application of democracy to empirical evidence and political exigencies of that particular area.
- ILL- EQUIPPED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES CAN NOT HANDLE CIVIL SOEITY INPUTS Regulatory bodies may lack relevant staff expertise, adequate founds suitable procedures or the necessary receptive attitudes to take advantage of the benefits on offer fro civil society. Government officials my consult civic associations only in the later stages of policymaking when they key decision have already been taken. Instead of promoting democracy this could lead to friction in the society and cause turmoil.
- THE STATE FUNDING AND BENEFITS COULD CORRUPT THE VOLUNTEERS OF THE CIVIC ORGANISATION – Instead of focusing on there aims and objectives they could run in short terms gains.
- INADEQUATE REPRESENTATION COULD SERIOUSLY UNDERMINE THE VERY FABRIC OF DEMOCRACY- if civil society has to realize its promises fully, then all stratus of civil society should be duly allowed to access authorities and more over equality of opportunity in terms of participation otherwise civil privileges connected with class, gender, nationality, race, religion, urban versus rural location and so on.
- CIVIL SOCIETY CONCERN FOR GLOBAL DEMOCRACY COULD BE INSENSITIVE TOWARDS THE LOCAL CULTURAL PRACTICE- Here, civil society may not respond to all of the contexts of local populations. In particular there is a danger that civil society in the South and the former communist ruled countries could come under the strong influence of westernstyled, western- funded NGOs led by the westernized. Such campaigners might criticize prevailing conditions of global governance; they have stronger cultural affinities with global mangers than with local communities. Thus NGOs and other professionalized civil society bodies may perhaps quite unintentionally marginalize grassroots circles that could give better voice to the diverse life –worlds that global governance affects.
- CIVIL SOCIETY MAY LACK INTERNAL DEMOCRACY – Civil society groups – including those that specifically campaign for greater democracy, can fall short of democratic behaviour in their own functioning. A lack of internal democracy within civil society circles is not only objectionable in itself, but also contradicts its very goal of bringing democracy to society at large. It is an often realized situation, where civic associations offer their members little opportunity for participation beyond the payment of subscriptions. Civil society organisations may advocate on behalf of certain constituencies without adequately consulting them. The leadership of a civic organisation may suppress debate in the name of welfare. Civic groups may lack transparency as some times they do not publish financial statements or declarations of objectives of their organisation, let along full- scale reports of their activities.
Given these potential problems, one should not be swayed by much of the alluring fantasies with civil society. Much can go right but much can also go wrong. Civil society can be a means to good ends, but it is not the end itself. There are circumstances where civic involvement may detract from democracy or sabotage the very fabric of democracy. It should be the first demand of the society that civic associations should not merely assert but also demonstrate their democratic legitimacy.
CIVIL SOCIETY: CONCLUSIVE ANALYSIS:
There is so much of academic assertion on this point that some anthropologists even question whether the concept of civil society even applies outside the West. In a comparative study of China and Taiwan, for example, Robert P Weller writes, “I have studiously avoided the term civil society while writing about many of its core issues. The term ‘civil society’ while writing problematic theoretical assumptions and historical connotations, which have strong roots in a particular European philosophical tradition. “With the arrival of European colonialism, the state becomes and undeniable, unavoidable part of the business of social living; and the institutional organisation of the modern state invites a discourse in terms of state/ civil society distinction.”.
To further evaluate the subject in more theoretical context, the following points could be of use for understanding the existing complexities in the subject.
- Firstly, advocates often depict civil society as wholly positive, even flawless. For example, in a article, ‘Civil Society and Building Democracy: Lessons from International Donor Experience’ Harry Blair says that civil society organisations increase citizens’ participation in the policymaking process, enhance the state’s accountability to its citizenry, and provide civic education in democratic politics. This describes an ideal- an ideal that since 1989 has helped motivate hundreds of millions of dollars in international grants to civil society organisations in lessdeveloped countries, with mixed result.
- Secondly, those who idealize civil society often talk about citizen engagement without mentioning citizen conflict. Yet conflict over resources, laws, policies, influence is central and inherent to the plurality of interests is at the heart of civil society. For this reason, fundamentalist societies that believe in a single source of truth, such as the Soviet Union under Stalin and other communist countries in the letter part of 20th century or Iran under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, are much less tolerant of civil society than societies that welcomes plural points of view.
- Third, from Tocqueville onward, Westerners have generally place individualisms at the heart of civil society. Ernest Gellner, for example describes the building block of civil society as modular man, an individual who is autonomous yet willing and able to associate. In much of the world, however, individuals do not consider themselves modular. They regard their identities as members of particular communities (determined by family, religion, ethnicity, caste, race, or something else) as fundamental, not choices easily made and unmade. For example, in Saekete Center, Muslims, Christian, and worshippers of local gods live together and Muslims and Christians often sacrifice to local gods when facing particularly vexing problems. Yet this openness to different practices does not mean that individuals are modular and can easily exchange one faith for another. Religion, like family and ethnicity, embeds the individual in a web of social connections and cultural meanings that can be severed only at significant cost. The basic thesis of civil society rests with the presumption that man being social is challenged. If individuals are considered modular, how do we fashion a definition of civil society that works trans- nationally?
- Fourthly, concept of civil society is placed with too broad parameters. Some have argued that civil society consists of all forms of non-state organisation other than the family which is unacceptable proposition because it includes within civil society many social forms that are essentially private, and thereby fails to distinguish civil society from society at large. To make the concept more useful for the purpose, civil aspect of civil society must limit the category to those networks, movements and organisations the have a public dimension.
- Fifthly, here it is stressed that civil society is essentially two-fold in nature: private in origins but public in focus. Civil society groups represent private interests by employing more often nonviolent public means, such as association, education and demonstration to influence policy and polity, whether at the neighborhood, city regional, state, or national level. The interests pursued can be individualistic, or they can be oriented toward religion, race, or other social groupings. In a way that might generate pressure on government.
To conclude our discussion on civil society with positive academic note the essential idea that has been put into practice is that democracy requires a healthy and active civil society. The international community, by providing resources and training to different civic groups, can help to build up domestic civil society in democratizing countries. However, at the same time caution should be duly taken in imposing one’s ideas and culture in the name of civil society or as matter of fact democracy. Though democracy is one of the healthiest systems of governance both in domestic and international arena yet there is no final world in social sciences. There are so many ancient cultural systems and practices in the East which are far better than the existing western way of life. They should not be discarded merely because we have fantasies and fondness for the West. More importantly, the debate and enthusiasm for promoting better life style should continue in order to benefit the people who are living in authoritarian societies with abysmal poverty and sufferings.
In the realm of political theory the term ‘ideology’ is applied in two contexts:
- A set of ideas which are accepted to be true by a particular group, party or nation without further examination; and
- The science of ideas which examines as to how different ideas are formed, how truth is distorted, and how we can overcome distortions to discover true knowledge.
IDEOLOGY AS A SET OF IDEAS:
- In First context, ideology means a set of those ideas which are accepted to be true by a particular group without further examination. These ideas are invoked in order to justify or denounce a particular way of social, economic or political organization. In this sense, ideology is matter of faith; it has no scientific basis. Adherents of an ideology think that its validity need not be subjected to verification.
- Different groups may adhere to different ideologies; hence differences among them are inevitable. Ideology, therefore, gives rise to love- hate relationship, which is not conductive to scientific temper. Examples of some ideologies are: Liberalism, capitalism, socialism, Marxism, communism, anarchism, fascism, imperialism, nationalism, internationalism, etc.
- WHEN AN IDEOLOGY IS USED TO DEFEND AN EXISTING SYSTEM OR TO ADVOCATE A LIMITED OR A RADICAL CHANGE IN THAT SYSTEM, IT BECOMES A PART OF POLITICS. A political ideology may lend legitimacy to the ruling class or it may involve an urge for revolution. It therefore signifies the manipulative power of a dominant class or of a social movement.
- AN IDEOLOGY IS ACTION- ORIENTED. It presents a cause before its adherents and induces them to fight for that cause, and to make sacrifices for its realization. FOR EXAMPLE, nationalism may inspire people to sacrifice their wealth or life for defending the freedom of their nation. But communalism may induce hatred among people towards members of another community and prompt them to base on obscurantism, has given rise to worldwide terrorism.
- IN THE SPHERE OF POLITICS, CONFLICTING IDEOLOGIES MAY BE INVOKED TO DEFEND CONFLICTING NORMS OR IDEALS. Of these, some ideals may be designed to serve some vested interests, and some ideals may sack to challenge irrational beliefs and conventions, and thus pave the way for progress. FOR EXAMPLE, ideology of imperialism may be invoked to facilitate the exploitation of colonial territories and their and their people, while environmentalism may be invoked to save humanity from the curse of atmospheric pollution and depletion of valuable natural resources.
IDEOLOGY AS THE SCIENCE OF IDEAS:
- The term ‘ideology’ was originally devised to describe the science of ideas. IN THIS SENSE, IT SEEKS TO DETERMINE HOW IDEAS ARE FORMED, HOW THEY ARE DISTORTED, AND HOW TRUE IDEAS COULD BE SEGREGATED FROM FALSE IDEAS. It was Destutt de Tracy (1954-1836), a French scholar, who first used the word ideology during 1801-15 in his writings on the Enlightenment. He defined it as a study of the process of forming ideas- a science of ideas. TRACY OBSERVED THAT IDEAS ARE STIMULATED BY THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT; HENCE EMPIRICAL LEARNING (GAINED THROUGH SENSEEXPERIENCE) IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE. Supernatural or spiritual phenomena have no role to play in the formation of real ideas. Science is founded on these ideas. PEOPLE COULD USE SCIENCE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS.
- Although Tracy was the first to use the term ‘ideology’ in this sense, he was not the first to study the process of formation of ideas. FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626), an English philosopher, before him, insisted that KNOWLEDGE SHOULD COME FROM CAREFUL AND ACCURATE OBSERVATION AND EXPERIENCE. HE HELD THAT THE KNOWLEDGE DEDUCED FROM LESS SCIENTIFIC METHODS OF INQUIRY WAS DISTORTED BY FALSE IMPRESSIONS OR ‘IDOLS’. In short, Bacon and Tracy focused on the validity of knowledge obtained by scientific method, and cautioned us against distorted forms of knowledge.
- In contemporary literature, the term ‘IDEOLOGY’ IS APPLIED TO THE SET OF IDEAS WHICH ARE ADOPTED BY A GROUP IN ORDER TO MOTIVATE IT FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF PREDETERMINED GOALS. Science of ideas is described by different terms, like “SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE” (the term introduced by Karl Mannheim). Science of ideas is used to identify the causes of distortion in the prevailing ideologies. A systematic attempt in this direction began with Marx. Later Lukacs and Mannheim also made significant contributions to this effort.
VIEWS OF Karl MARX:
- Karl Marx (1818-83) in “German Ideology (1845-46)” and “A contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)” dwelled on the nature of ideology. According to him, ideology is a manifestation of false consciousnesses.
- ACCORDING TO MARX, in the process of social development material needs of people advance, but their social consciousness lags behind. This distorted consciousness or false consciousness is reflected in their IDEOLOGY. Dominant class at any stage of social development marks use of ideology to maintain its authority. FOR EXAMPLE, makers of the French Revolution (1789) raised the slogan of ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ to enlist support of the masses. But they settled for liberty which served their interest, i.e. the interest of the new entrepreneurial class of those days. They did not proceed to win freedom for common man, but stopped after winning freedom for a new dominant class to ensure inviolability of property.
- Marx and Engels (1820-95) held that IDEOLOGY IS AN INSTRUMENT FOR PROTECTING THE INTEREST OF THE DOMINANT CLASS. Thus bourgeoisie (the capitalist class) needs ideology to maintain itself in power. On the contrary, when PROLETARIAT (THE WORKING CLASS) comes to power after the socialist revolution, it has no vested interest in maintaining itself in power. It strives to create such conditions where the state will ‘wither away’. It does not want to continue as the dominant class but works for the creation of a classless society.
- However, V.I. Lenin (1870-1924) in his what is conceal the prevailing contradictions, but it has become a neutral concept which refers to the political consciousness of different classes, including, the proletarian class. He argued that the class struggle will continue for a very long time during the socialist phase. So proletariats also need an ideology- the ideology of scientific socialism for their guidance, lest they are overpowered by the bourgeois ideology.
VIEWS OF LUKACS:
- Georg Lukacs (1885-1971), a Hungarian Marxist, held that CONSCIOUSNESS WAS ALWAYS CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS. The proletariat, by virtue of its increasing estrangement within the socio-economic sphere, occupied a unique historical position from which it could achieve universal consciousness.
- On the nature of ideology Lukacs maintained that it REFERS BOTH TO BOURGEOISIE AND PROLETARIAN CONSCIOUSNESS, WITHOUT IMPLYING A NECESSARY NEGATIVE CONNOTATION. MARXISM ITSELF IS THE IDEOLOGICAL EXPRESSION OF THE PROLETARIAT. Lukacs held that BOURGEOIS IDEOLOGY IS FALSE, not because ideology itself is false consciousness, but because bourgeois class situation is structurally limited. IN OTHER WORDS, BOURGEOISIE (THE CAPITALIST CLASS) CANNOT STAND ON ITS OWN. IT MUST EXPLOIT PROLETARIAT (THE WORKING CLASS) TO MAINTAIN ITSELF. Bourgeois ideology is deplorable because it dominates and contaminates the psychological consciousness of proletariat. However, Lukacs has warned that ideological struggle should not become a substitute for class struggle.
VIEWS OF Karl MANNHEIM:
Karl Mannheim (1893-1947), a German sociologist, in his famous work “Ideology and Utopia” REJECTS MARX’S THEORY OF IDEOLOGY ON THREE GROUNDS;
- STYLE OF THOUGHT (CONSCIOUSNESS) of any group is only indirectly related to its interests; there is no direct correlation between its consciousness and its economic interests;
- All thought (CONSCIOUSNESS) is shaped by its social background; hence Marxism itself is the ideology of a class; and
- Apart from classes, other social groups, like different generations, also have a significant influence upon CONSCIOUSNESS.
Mannheim introduced term ‘sociology of knowledge’ to focus on social determination of knowledge or style of thought (Consciousness). He sought to generalize Marxist framework as a tool of analysis.
- He held that the FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS MAY BE MANIFESTED IN TWO FORMS; IDEOLOGY AND UTOPIA. IDEOLOGY REPRESENTS THE TENDENCY OF CONSERVATION. IT RELIES ON FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS TO MUSTER SUPPORT FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF STATUS QUO. One the other hand, UTOPIA REPRESENTS THE IMPETUS TO CHANGE. IT RELIES ON FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS BY PROJECTING UNREALIZABLE PRINCIPLES to muster support for the forces of change.
- A RULING CLASS MAKES USE OF IDEOLOGY; THE OPPOSITION MAY PROJECT A UTOPIA. Mannheim declared that Marxist vision of a classless society was nothing of utopia. Hence it also makes false consciousness its tools.
- The relative character of all knowledge as postulated by Mannheim makes the knowledge of objective truth extremely difficult. Is there no hope, then, to discover truth? Well, there is a silver lining. MANNHEIM HINGES ON THE POSSIBILITY OF A ‘FREE FLOATING STRATUM OF INTELLECTUALS BETWEEN THE CONTENDING CLASSES TO ACHIEVE DISINTERESTED KNOWLEDGE. He hopes that some enlightened individuals within the conflicting groups will realize that their perception of truth is partial; it could be complemented by understanding their opponent’s view. SUCH INDIVIDUALS FROM BOTH SIDES WILL COME TOGETHER WITH AN OPEN MIND; THEY WILL ENTER INTO A DIALOGUE AND INCESSANTLY STRIVE TO ARRIVE AT THE OBJECTIVE TRUTH. Thus they will open the way to achieve synthetic common knowledge of the prevailing historical situation and a realistic assessment of actual possibilities.
- IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO GRASP A REALISTIC VISION BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND UTOPIA. Mannheim identifies these intellectuals as social scientists. He recommends that these social scientists, who have proved their ability to grasp the objective truth, should be given authority to rule.
- CRITICS ARGUE THAT MANNHEIM HAS CREATED CONFUSION BETWEEN THE ORIGIN AND VALIDITY OF KNOWLEDGE. His extreme relativism contemplates the existence of ideas without upholders. Moreover, giving power to social scientists is fraught with danger of absolutism. Let these social scientists function as critics of power holders instead of wielding power themselves. They would better serve as organizers of agitations and demonstrations, journalist and writers, and as conscience- keepers of society.
IDEOLOGY AND TOTALITARIANISM:
WHEN IDEOLOGY IS CONCEIVED AS AN INSTRUMENT OF MOTIVATING PEOPLE FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF PREDETERMINED GOALS, IT COMES CLOSE TO TOTALITARIANISM. Some writers, therefore, assert that IDEOLOGY IN THIS SENSE IS FOUND ONLY IN TOTALITARIAN SYSTEMS; it has no place in an open society.
- Famous Austrian philosopher Karl Popper (1902-94) in “The Open Society and Its Enemies” argued that ideology is the characteristic of totalitarianism; it has nothing to do in an open society. He maintained that SCIENCE AND FREEDOM FLOURISH TOGETHER IN A SOCIETY WHICH IS OPEN IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS WILLING TO ACCEPT NEW IDEAS. In contrast, a TOTALITARIAN SOCIETY CLAIMS THAT IT HAS ALREADY FOUND THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH, and strives, to implement it ruthlessly. IDEOLOGY IS THE TOOL WHICH ENABLES THE STATE TO MOBILIZE ITS MANPOWER AND OTHER RESOURCES FOR A GOAL WHICH IS DECLARED TO EMBODY THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH. It does to allow anyone to oppose.
- In Popper’s view, Western liberal- democratic societies are open societies; hence they do not need an ideology for working smoothly. Citizens of these societies are absolutely free to criticize the existing institutions and structures of power.
THE HANNAH ARENDT (1906-75), a German Jew philosopher, in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951) defined TOTALITARIANISM AS A SYSTEM OF TOTAL DOMINATION, CHARACTERIZED BY IDEOLOGY AND TERROR. It was made possible in recent Europe by three factors:
- THE SPECIFIC POLITICAL AND SOCIAL POSITION OF THE JEWS which had given antiSemitism (the tendency of hatred toward Jews) a new force;
- IMPERIALISM which generated racist movements and worldwide expansion of power; andDISSOLUTION OF EUROPEAN SOCIETY INTO UPROOTED MASSES, so lonely and disoriented that they could be mobilized behind ideologies.
- Thus Popper and Arendt focused on the role of ideology as a tool of totalitarianism. It is interesting to recall that Marx had evolved the concept of ideology in late nineteenth century in order to expose capitalism. Concept of totalitarianism was evolved in early twentieth century to describe the dictatorial way to working of communist regime of the Soviet Union till the end of Stalin era (1953) and fascist regime of Italy (under Mussolini) and Germany (under Hitler) till the end of Second World War (1945).
- BOTH COMMUNIST AND FASCIST REGIMES MADE AMPLE USE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE IDEOLOGIES FOR THE MOBILIZATION OF THEIR CITIZENS TOWARD THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THEIR RESPECTIVE GOALS. Popper largely focused on the communist regime and Arendt on the fascist regime to bring out the close correlations between ideology and totalitarianism.
END OF IDEOLOGY DEBATE:
The Current status of ideology in the world was reviewed in mid – 1950s and in 1960s. IN WESTERN LIBERAL- DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES, IT WAS DECLARED THAT THE AGE OF IDEOLOGY HAD COME TO AN END. These countries LOOKED AT IDEOLOGY AS A TOOL OF TOTALITARIANISM which had no place in open societies.
- ‘END OF IDEOLOGY’ ALSO IMPLIED THAT AT THE ADVANCED STAGE OF INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, A COUNTRY’S SOCIAL – ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION IS DETERMINED BY THE LEVEL OF ITS DEVELOPMENT, AND NOT BE ITS POLITICAL IDEOLOGY. In other words, capitalist and communist countries were bound to evolve similar characteristics at the advanced stage of their industrial development, irrespective of their ideological differences.
- Early indication of this view may be found in the proceedings of a conference on ‘The Future of Freedom’ held in Milan, Italy, in 1955. EDWARD SHILLS REPORT on this conference was published in Encounter (1955) under the title ‘The End of Ideology’. The conference urged its participants to forget their minor differences and discover common grounds to face the danger of Communism. DANIEL BELL observed in the course of his speech: “Today ideologies are exhausted. In the Western World, there is today a rough consensus among intellectuals on political issues, THE ACCEPTANCE OF A WELFARE STATE; THE DESIRABILITY OF DECENTRALIZED POWER; A SYSTEM OF MIXED ECONOMY AND OF POLITICAL PLURALISM. In that sense too the ideological age has ended.” This view was confirmed and further elaborated by several Western writers.
- DANIEL BELL, in his noted work the “End of Ideology (1960)” asserted that POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES ARE PRONE TO SIMILAR DEVELOPMENT IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES. They have lesser proportion of workers in industry than in services. In other words, at the advanced stage of industrial development in any country the services sector expands at a faster rate than the manufacturing sector. Besides, it is also characterized by the INCREASING DOMINANCE OF TECHNICAL ELITES. The change in this direction is not affected by its political ideology.
- RALPH DAHRENDORF in “Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society (1957)” argued that THE WESTERN SOCIETIES HAD ENTERED A NEW PHASE OF DEVELOPMENT. THEY WERE NO LONGER CAPITALIST SOCIETIES; THEY HAD BECOME POSTCAPITALIST SOCIETIES. The coincidence of economic conflict and political conflict, which was the foundation of Marx’s theory, had ceased to exist in THE POSTCAPITALIST SOCIETIES. In a CAPITALIST SOCIETY, the lines of industrial and political conflict were superimposed.
- The opponents within the industrial sphere- capitalist and workers met again as bourgeoisie and proletarian, in the political arena. IN CONTRAST, industry and society have been dissociated in the POST- CAPITALIST SOCIETY. The social relations of the industrial sphere, including industrial conflict, no longer dominate the whole society but remain confined in their patterns and problems to the sphere of industry. In post-capitalist society, industry and industrial conflicts are institutionally isolated. In other words, they remain confined within the borders of their proper realm and do not influence politics and other spheres of social life. Thus in Dahrendorf view, the framework of Marxian ideology was no longer suitable for the analysis of the Western societies.
- Then SEYMOUR M. LIPSET, in “Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics (1960)” significantly observed: Democracy is not only or even primarily a means through which different groups can attain their ends or seek the good society; it is the good society itself in operation. LIPSET observed that in the Western democracies the differences between the left and the right are no longer profound; the only issues before politics are concerned with marginal increase in wages, marginal rise in prices, and extension of old- age pensions, etc. He maintained that the fundamental political problems of the industrial revolution have been solved: the workers have achieved industrial and political citizenship; the conservatives have accepted the welfare state; and the democratic left has recognized that an increase in overall state power carries with it more dangers to freedom than solutions for economic problems. THE TRIUMPH OF DEMOCRACY IN THE WEST HAS MADE THE INTELLECTUALS REALIZE THAT THEY NO LONGER NEED IDEOLOGIES OR UTOPIAS TO MOTIVATE THEM TO POLITICAL ACTION.
- W.W. ROSTOW, in “The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non- communist Manifesto (1960)” built A UNIDIMENSIONAL MODEL OF ECONOMIC GROWTH WHICH WAS APPLICABLE TO ALL COUNTRIES IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES. He suggested that all societies pass through five stages of growth: ‘TRADITIONAL SOCIETY’, ‘PRECONDITIONS FOR TAKE- OFF’, ‘TAKE-OFF’, ‘ROAD TO MATURITY’ AND ‘THE AGE OF HIGH MASS CONSUMPTION’. He believed that the process of development going on at that time in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East was analogous to the stages of preconditions for take off and take-off which prevailed in the Western societies in late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rostow asserted that the adoption of different political ideologies played no role in determining the course of economic development in different countries.
- J.K. GALBRAITH, in “The New Industrial State (1967)” identified certain characteristic of advanced industrial societies which correspond to the end of ideology thesis. Galbraith observed that “ALL INDUSTRIALIZED SOCIETIES ARE DESTINED TO SIMILAR DEVELOPMENT”. This involves GREATER CENTRALIZATION, BUREAUCRATIZATION, PROFESSIONALIZATION AND TECHNOCRATIZATION. These characteristics were visible in the Russian as well as American system although they had adopted as divergent ideologies as communism and capitalism respectively. It means that a country’s technoeconomic structure is shaped by the level of its industrialization, and not by its distinctive political ideology. Galbraith claimed that A NEW RULING CLASS CONSISTING OF THE BUREAUCRATIC AND TECHNOCRATIC ELITE HAD EMERGED IN ALL ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES. This class belonged neither to the WORKING CLASS NOR TO THE CAPITALISTS. In liberal societies, the members of this class occupied high position in an open meritocratic system. Because of high rate of social mobility, they are not attached to particular capitalists. Power in society is vested in bureaucracy and technocracy, and not in capitalists. Galbraith comes to the conclusion that in the contemporary world, emancipation of humanity should be sought in anti- capitalism.
- THE END OF IDEOLOGY THESIS HAD A MESSAGE FOR THE NEW NATIONS OF ASIA, AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA. It implied that they should focus on their industrial development, and should not run after the mirage of communism as a remedy of their ills. With the collapse of communist systems in East European countries in 1989 (which was followed by a similar collapse in the Soviet Union in (1991), this view got a new impetus in the form the ‘End of History’ thesis. FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, in his paper entitled ‘THE END OF HISTORY’, argued that the failure of socialism (i.e. communism in the present context) meant an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism. IT MARKED THE END POINT OF MANKIND’S IDEOLOGICAL EVOLUTION AND THE UNIVERSALIZATION OF WESTERN LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AS THE FINAL FORM OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT. FUKUYAMA maintained that the liberal democracy contains no basic contradictions and that it is capable of fulfilling deepest aspirations of mankind. Its victory has heralded an end to the long historical struggle which had obstructed its expansion in the past. This thesis was given wide publicity in the Western press and academic circles as it was suited to their mode of thought.
CRITICS of END OF IDEOLOGY DEBATE:
- However, RICHARD TITMUSS, C. WRIGHT MILLS, C.B. MACPHERSON AND ALASDAIR MACINTYRE severely criticized the end of ideology thesis. TITMUSS observed that the champions of the end of ideology this overlook the problems of monopolistic concentration of economic power, social disorganization and cultural deprivation within the capitalist system. C. WRIGHT MILLS dubbed the upholders of END OF IDEOLOGY THESIS the advocates of status quo. In his view, it is an ideology of political complacency which appears to be the only way now available for many social scientists to acquiesce in or to justify the established social structure. So far as human and political ideas are concerned, the END OF IDEOLOGY THESIS stands for a denial of their relevance. C.B. MACPHERSON asserted that the champions of the END OF IDEOLOGY THESIS make a futile attempt to solve the problem of equitable distribution within the market society. ALASDAIR MACINTYRE (Against the self- Images of the Age; 1971) significantly observed that the end of ideology theorists failed to entertain one crucial alternative possibility: namely that the END- OF- IDEOLOGY, far from marking the end-of-ideology, was itself a key expression of the ideology of the time and place where it arose”.
- IN SHORT, THE END OF IDEOLOGY DEBATE, AND ITS LATEST VERSION ARE DESIGNED TO PROJECT THE SUPREMACY OF LIBERAL- DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM IN THEORY AS WELL AS PRACTICE. In the contemporary climate of increasing urge for liberalization, privatization and globalization, this idea seems to be riding high. However, it needs a close scrutiny. Collapse of socialism in a large part of the world could be the outcome of human faults in its implementation. Moreover, Western democratic world is by no means an epitome of justice and morality. Human emancipation is a complex venture. There are no readymade answers to all human problems. In devising their solution, relevant ideas from different ideologies may be drawn and examined. Of these liberalism, Marxism, socialism, fascism, anarchism, Gandhism, and Feminism, are particularly important.
- Ideology has been variously condemned as the reflection of false consciousness or as an instrument of totalitarianism. But it is not fine to look at all ideologies in this light. In actual practice, different ideologies as sets of ideas will continue to exist as the vehicles of value- systems preferred by different groups. They will be used for motivating people to achieve the goals cherished by their upholders. They may also be used by some groups to convince others regarding their rightful claims. Ideologies do not belong exclusively to dominate classes; oppressed classes also have their own ideologies. They cannot be set aside as ‘false consciousness’.
- Ideologies could serve as meeting ground for like- minded people, instead of confining themselves to their tribe, caste, religion, region, etc. They may reflect changing social consciousness on crucial issues. Some ideologies have given rise to strong social movements for the emancipation of various oppressed sections. Some ideologies manifest a deep concern with the future of humanity. An ideology is identified by commitment to a cause. It rules out personal interest, bias or submission to a particular person, group or dynasty. It signifies a set of coherent ideas- perception of real and ideal from one’s own position. It may also be used to make others realize that position. That is how, in the sphere of world politics, developing nations strive to impress upon advanced nations to adopt humanist attitudes and policies.