Kresina Iryna, Stoiko Olena

Yearly journal of scientific articles Pravova derzhava Volume 33 (2022), 540-550 p.

DOI: 10.33663/1563-3349-2022-33-540-550

Kresina Iryna, Stoiko Olena. Evolving approaches to civil society participation in governance processes

Political theories of civil society often apply the concept of civil society, which is considered holistic, containing norms and quasi-legal mechanisms that distinguish it from the state, economy and family, and regulating social relations. These theories often defi ne civil society as a social sphere opposed to the state.

Civil society and the notion of civil society are currently being transformed by factors such as new governance, including neoliberal reforms and network development,and democratic transitions. Civil society is also linked to other concepts, including participation, development, the third sector and inclusion. Thus, the essence of civil society is linked to the context in which it is situated and implemented.

This article aims to analyse the evolution of the understanding of civil society and its participation in the governance of social processes in the context of new approaches to governance practices articulated by theories of rational choice, neo-institutionalism, neoliberalism and the concept of the Third Way.

The understanding of civil society is a historically determined phenomenon and depends on the specifi c context of social relations. In the 1990s there was a rethinking of the liberal concept of civil society, in which it was opposed to an oppressive state. At the same time, the ineffi ciency of state management and the failures of the common welfare state forced the search for new models of organisation of management processes, primarily by involving civil society organisations in the decision-making process and in performing some functions which previously belonged exclusively to the state. The theories of rational choice, neo-institutionalism and neo-liberalism provided the theoretical basis for changes in governance practices, which, however, failed to fully address two major problems: the lack of accountability mechanisms for CSOs and their representativeness to what extent they are independent and how fully they represent the interests of the whole society.

Key words: civil society, governance, neoinstitutionalism, neoliberalism, rational choice theories, participation, networks, the Third Way.

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