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Does Civil Society Matter?

Does Civil Society Matter?
Governance in Contemporary India

Edited by:

February 2009 | 378 pages | SAGE India
This book makes the case for broadening the idea of governance and advocates that while civil society can play the role of reforming the state, the relationship between civil society and governance needs to be critiqued from various perspectives.

The essays are organized in two sections. The first deals with the conceptual and theoretical debate on the relation between civil society and governance. The second substantiates the debate with empirical insights drawn from the study of assertions taking place in the space of civil society.

The contributors have provided an Indian perspective to the discussion. The crisis of governance in India and the role that civil society can play in improving the situation has been examined in detail. The state--civil society relationship of confrontation has been recast as one of cooperative engagement and as an act of balance between the state, the market and the civil society. The book argues for critical significance of citizen vigilance and assertion in checking the corrupt and arbitrary exercise of state power.

Case studies on the Save Chilika Movement, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha, dalit assertion in Sregarhi, the pavement dwellers in Mumbai and the Kol tribal movement have been examined to look into the issue of governance from the point of view of the marginalized people. These social movements are questioning both the state-led and market-determined governance.

The assertions in civil society vis-à-vis the state therefore, reflect the need for incorporating the agenda of people in the scheme of governance. Thus, collective action can provide a broader understanding of governance in which people participate in deciding what is good for them and governance does not remain the sole responsibility of the state.

The book argues that a corrupt and exploitative state cannot be let off the hook. It needs to be reformed and brought back to perform its task of responsible governance. It is here that civil society has to play a vigilant role.

Rajesh Tandon and Ranjita Mohanty
Civil Society and Governance: Issues and Problematics

Neera Chandhoke
A Critique of the Notion of Civil Society as `Third Sphere'
Rajesh Tandon
The Civil Society-Governance Interface
An Indian Perspective

Jayaprakash Narayan
The Crisis of Governance
T K Oommen
Civil Society and the Goal of Good Governance
Harsh Mander
Corruption and the Right to Information
Ranjita Mohanty
Save the Chilika Movement
Interrogating the State and the Market

Neera Chandhoke
When the Voiceless Speak
A Case Study of the Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha

Sudha Pai and Ram Narayan
Democratic Governance, Civil Society and Dalit Protest
Bishnu N Mohapatra
A View of Governance from the Subalterns
The Pavement Dwellers of Mumbai

B K Joshi
Land Distribution for Kol Tribals in Uttar Pradesh

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