Rethinking Civil Society and Religion in Cuba

  • Margaret E. Crahan
  • Ariel C. Armony
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


The interplay of religion, culture, and society in any country, at any given time, is one of the most complex phenomena experts have attempted to understand and explain. This is true in the case of democratic regimes where empirical evidence is accessible and conceptual categories are grounded in long-standing scholarly discourse, and the attempt to study these themes in a system such as Cuba’s presents considerable challenges. For example, the study of Cuba forces us to grapple with concepts that, notwithstanding broad and sometimes serious disagreements among scholars, can be employed with more or less consensus in mainstream cases. One such concept is civil society itself, which we broadly define as a complex network of individuals and groups through which people participate in community and polity. As such it includes not only civic associations and institutions, but also informal networks that are linked horizontally and, at times, vertically to political elites and the state, particularly in an effort to secure the public’s interests.


Civil Society Religious Belief Civic Engagement Religious Leader Religious Actor 
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    The proliferation of literature on civil society since Robert D. Putnam’s landmark study, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), is well known. Following are a few of the works that suggest the complexity and diversity of civil society’s actors, as well as the degree to which civil society does not always support the deepening of democracy: Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Bert Hoffmann and Laurence Whitehead 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret E. Crahan
  • Ariel C. Armony

There are no affiliations available

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