Corporatism versus Pluralism and Authoritarianism as Association Contexts

  • Howard J. Wiarda
  • Paul Adams
  • LAM Wai-man
  • Dwight Wilson


We tend to assume, sometimes even by definition, that civil society as it emerges will be liberal, pluralistic, and democratic. Civil society is often assumed to be non-bureaucratic, independent from the state, a force for social justice and reform. But liberal or pluralistic civil society is only one form of civil society. There are also authoritarian, corporatist, and totalitarian forms in which the state, in varying degrees, creates, structures, licenses, moderates, and controls civil society (Cavatorta 2012). There is nothing automatic or inevitable about democratic-pluralist civil society. Civil society can and does exist in a variety of forms related to levels of socio-economic development, world region, culture, and institutions. In this chapter, following a theoretical introduction by the lead author, co-authors explore the variety of civil society structures and state–society relations in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Of particular interest are the recent efforts of regimes in China, Egypt, and Russia to impose limits on civil society groups and activities. The authors close with suggestions for studying the wide variety of civil society arrangements under multiple regime types.


Civil Society Communist Party Civil Liberty Voluntary Association Fourteenth Amendment 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard J. Wiarda
    • 1
  • Paul Adams
    • 2
  • LAM Wai-man
    • 3
  • Dwight Wilson
    • 4
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.USA
  3. 3.China
  4. 4.USA

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