Civil Society and Political Change in Asia: Expanding and Contracting Democratic Space


Muthiah Alagappa (ed.)


Stanford: Stanford University Press

Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 0-8047-5097-1
Binding: paper
Pages: xxii, 528


This book is the first comprehensive, systematic investigation of the connection between civil society and political change in Asia—change toward open, participatory, and accountable politics. Its findings suggest that the link between a vibrant civil society and democracy is indeterminate: certain types of civil society organizations support democracy, but others have the potential to undermine it.

Further, the study argues that while civil society is a key factor in political change, democratic transition and consolidation hinge on the development of effective political parties, legislatures, and state institutions. Rooted in a common definition of civil society, a strong analytical framework, and rich empirical material, the analyses and conclusions of the book will have a lasting impact on the understanding of civil society and its relation to democracy in Asia and around the world.

© Stanford University Press


"Virtually every country in Asia is analyzed from the common perspective of how civil society fosters or hinders political change, especially democratic development. My theoretical and empirical understanding of civil society and comparative politics emerged substantially enriched. I have waited for two decades for a volume of this scope and quality to help me locate Asia in world politics. There is nothing like it."

Alfred Stepan
Wallace Sayre Professor of Government, Columbia University
Author of Arguing Comparative Politics