Relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracy

relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracy

A dynamic civil society is essential to a functioning democracy. After the obstacles facing Russia's civil society and addresses how the government is restricting civil society of the Russian Constitution is the executive branch's primary means. Furthermore, this change created a relationship between the Russian state. Even in a discussion on “sustaining our constitutional democracy”? . efforts by government, parents, civil-society and hard-working teachers to. Support of youth and women participation in the transition to democracy through .. Relationship between civil society organizations and government.

Judiciaries are suspect in large part—perhaps paradoxically—because of their unique institutional role as the interpreters of the webs of significance that are enshrined in constitutions in the first place. For Lutz, then, when a court, rather than a democratically elected legislature, is the primary institution interpreting culture and encouraging certain cultural values and not others, we should be concerned about the problems this poses for true democratic practice.

Designers tempted to place too much power in the hands of judges and justices should, accordingly, take note; for both authors worry that judges as cultivators of culture add yet another layer to the potential countermajoritarian problem.

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Readers may certainly be persuaded by Lutz's and Murphy's well argued claims regarding the necessary congruence between culture and democratic constitutionalism. Readers may also be persuaded to worry, as Lutz and Murphy do, about the institutionally privileged and therefore possibly problematic space that judges and, above all, justices occupy in constitutional democracy, from which these actors might attempt to redefine culture.

Nevertheless, I am struck by the fact that both Lutz and Murphy seem less suspicious of the international factors—be they actors, institutions or norms—that play a role in the cultivation of a domestic culture, and that affect congruence with the domestic constitutional order. Both authors acknowledge that international factors play a role, and suggest that international agents can even play a positive role.

Civil Society and the State

Yet, in contrast to their relative suspicion of judiciaries, neither author seems particularly concerned for the sovereignty of the domestic peoples when the congruence of culture and constitution is encouraged from outside the polity.

Germany and Japan are indeed special cases of reconstruction from without. However, in light of more recent experiments with such reconstruction, should we not be even more suspect of international actors and norms than of domestic judicial bodies? For the many countries in need of democratic construction or reconstruction today, why cannot their own if nascent supreme courts and constitutional courts, administrative courts and regulatory agencies, play a supportive role in the creation of democratic citizens and the encouragement of the congruence between culture and new democratic constitutional orders?

Here, perhaps, Habermas may be useful, in that we might ask whether cultural congruence could take the form of constitutional patriotism, and emerge from the specific set of values and principles enshrined in a constitution and protected by a powerful constitutional court, to which citizens have adequate access.


So whereas Lutz poses the question: For Murphy, on the other hand, the animating hope of constitutional democracy is, ultimately, human dignity. This difference between the authors is an important one, and—taking their divergent claims concerning the motivational hopes of constitutional democracy as alternate sets of first principles—we can derive two analytically distinct and, in fact, empirically verifiable patterns of constitutional design.

relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracy

I would like to suggest that these two hopes, as animating principles of design, exist, not as substitutes for one another, but as complements to one another; and that they are associated with rather different sets of institutions and practices, and different patterns of constitutional democracy, throughout the contemporary world. The fall of the Wall certainly led to a constitution-making scramble in the East, and professional journals, such as the East European Constitutional Review, were founded to emphasize the importance of this historical moment for both the theory and practice of constitutional democracy.

For glancing around the globe today, it seems that there are three, equally pressing challenges for the next generation of constitutional scholars, and all three challenges seem far removed from the experiences of East Central Europe. One of these challenges will likely come from the demographic and cultural complexity that is China; and another from Islamic states in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The third will arise from the so-called consolidated democracies, where we now witness endogenous constitutional morphing and the emergence, from within democratic constitutional structures, of surveillance states, 6 of governing through crime, 7 and of the ever-increasing restriction on individual liberties in the name of the state's obligation to prevent threats to order and security. Accordingly, it seems that a more relevant point of departure for both Lutz and Murphy might have been not the fall of the Berlin Wall, but the collapse and failure of what were, by any measure, extremely well-designed and well-intentioned constitutions, such as that of Weimar Germany.

relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracy

Lutz begins his analysis by quoting an e-mail he received at some point during his writing of the book. Apologize for slow response—electricity off and on every day. Cannot attend your conference because it is difficult to travel, and I must stay with the family in case more serious violence spreads. There is shooting in the streets at night, and people have been disappearing. Construction and repairs have stopped, money seems to have fled, and delivery of food is a problem.

Western antiquity[ edit ] The concept of civil society in its pre-modern classical republican understanding is usually connected to the early-modern thought of Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century.

However, it has much older history in the realm of political thought.

relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracy

Generally, civil society has been referred to as a political association governing social conflict through the imposition of rules that restrain citizens from harming one another. The concept of societas civilis is Roman and was introduced by Cicero.

relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracy

The philosophers in the classical period did not make any distinction between the state and society. In addition, human beings have the capacity to voluntarily gather for the common cause and maintain peace in society. By holding this view, we can say that classical political thinkers endorsed the genesis of civil society in its original sense. The Middle Ages saw major changes in the topics discussed by political philosophers.

Due to the unique political arrangements of feudalismthe concept of classical civil society practically disappeared from mainstream discussion. Instead conversation was dominated by problems of just wara preoccupation that would last until the end of Renaissance. Pre-modern history[ edit ] The Thirty Years' War and the subsequent Treaty of Westphalia heralded the birth of the sovereign states system.

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The Treaty endorsed states as territorially-based political units having sovereignty. As a result, the monarchs were able to exert domestic control by emasculating the feudal lords and to stop relying on the latter for armed troops. In order to meet administrative expenditures, monarchs controlled the economy. This gave birth to absolutism. These questions led them to make certain assumptions about the nature of the human mind, the sources of political and moral authoritythe reasons behind absolutism, and how to move beyond absolutism.

The Enlightenment thinkers believed in the inherent goodness of the human mind. They opposed the alliance between the state and the Church as the enemy of human progress and well-being because the coercive apparatus of the state curbed individual liberty and the Church legitimated monarchs by positing the theory of divine origin.

Therefore, both were deemed to be against the will of the people. Strongly influenced by the atrocities of Thirty Years' War, the political philosophers of the time held that social relations should be ordered in a different way from natural law conditions. Some of their attempts led to the emergence of social contract theory that contested social relations existing in accordance with human nature.

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They held that human nature can be understood by analyzing objective realities and natural law conditions. Thus they endorsed that the nature of human beings should be encompassed by the contours of state and established positive laws. Thomas Hobbes underlined the need of a powerful state to maintain civility in society. For Hobbes, human beings are motivated by self-interests Graham Moreover, these self-interests are often contradictory in nature. Therefore, in state of naturethere was a condition of a war of all against all.