Midterm of Democracy and Civil Society course

Midterm Exam

MidTerm-You have to choose and answer two of the following questions: one short question and one long question.

-Use Times New Roman, 12 font size, double space. 300-500 words for the short question, 1000-1500 words for the long question.

-Add your name, class (a, b, or c), and the topic and time of your presentation if you already had one!

-Send your long and short essays in the same document to the address emelemkalapom@gmail.com (Tamas Gyorgy) with the file name “democracy_my_name.doc” in .doc or .docx format.

-The deadline for submitting is Friday (8th November), midnight.

-If you have questions or need help, please send me an email!

Short questions:

1)      Do you think we have to keep the state and the civil society as different sectors? Why?

2)      Why do some say that civil society is a school for democracy? Do you agree?

3)      Is the concept of global civil society a useful one? Give examples of issues that can most effectively addressed by global civil society actors!

4)      Why do you think less and less people go to vote on parliamentary elections in Indonesia? How would you change this process?

5)      How would you define slacktivism? How is it different from activism?

Long question:

1)      ”Global public opinion is the new superpower” – What does that sentence mean? Do you agree?

2)      According to the extended functionalist approach, the functions of civil society are the following: (1) Protection of citizens (2) Monitoring for accountability (3) Advocacy and public communication (4) Socialization (5) Building community (6) Intermediation and facilitation between citizens and state (7) Service delivery. Give your own examples from Indonesia to all seven functions, and briefly discuss why they are good examples!

3)      Digital technologies: how are they good and how are they bad for democracy?

4)      Why do we need active citizens for a good democracy?By : Muhammad Choirul Rosiqin, International Relations Student @University of Muhammadiyah Malang

From the questions option above , I choose two of them, here my answer 😀

Short questions:

5. How would you define slacktivism? How is it different from activism?

Technical term of Slactivism is not popular in society, but in practice we can see it in everywhere. According to online oxford dictionary[1], definition of slacktivism is “actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement”. Whereas Cory Janssen[2] posted in Techopedia, Slacktivism is a term that combines the words “slacker” and “activism” to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving virtually no effort on the part of participants.

Slacktivism is most commonly associated with actions like signing online petitions, copying social network statuses or joining cause-related social networking groups. Slacktivism critics contend these actions are merely for participant gratification because they lack engagement and commitment and fail to produce any tangible effect, in terms of promoting a cause. While the definition is its own debate topic, most agree that it is the act of doing something that requires very little effort and has only the perceived effect of impact.

To diferentiate Slactivism and Activism, we can see how they’re working. Actually slactivist feels that they’re attractive and know everything. Sometimes critics for government policy, they just sit on the chair, not walk on the street like protester, slactivism usually gives their comment in petition form. Inclined the comment in bad sector perspective, no solution for the problem that they critics. Common activities include signing internet petitions, copy and pasting social network statuses, as well as altering their avatar, profile picture, and or personal data. In the other hand, Activism is the opposite of Slactivism. Activist in giving opinion or critic for government policy, usually walk on the street and announce the comment in front of  parliament building and write the critic on the banner, big paper, etc. Besides they give critics, sometimes they also give the solution for the problem.

Long question:

4). Why do we need active citizens for a good democracy?

Before I explain the question above, let me see the pillars of national integrity. When all the pillars in a National Integrity System are functioning well, corruption remains in check. If some or all of the pillars wobble, these weaknesses can allow corruption to thrive and damage a society. The pillars analysed in a National Integrity System assessment typically include:  Legislative branch of government, Executive branch of government, Judiciary, Public sector, Law enforcement, Electoral management body, Ombudsman, Audit institution, Anti-corruption agencies, Political parties, Media, Civil society, and Business.

From these explanation we can conclude that civil society is effect the national integrity. So, civil society is one of the important section in social environment, politic, economy and also the culture. The value of democratic state also there is in civil society. To know more why the active citizen need in creating good democracy, we have to know the value of democracy that under one’s belt by the government:[3] The government must responsible, the parliament must support the citizen or the society intererst besides control the government working, the national party must be a place to participate in politic zone or other function, mass media must be free to tell the opinion and the court system must keep the human right and be justice.

In democracy, the politic participation become the tool to measuring the level of democratic country, so citizen determine the state be democratic or not. Why? Because a citizen when join the political group will be able develop their state to be democratic. Today, we can participate by giving our critic on the mass media as a tool, now internet is already well known and really useful. In getting news, or in connecting with other people. The internet itself give good effect in creating democratic country, here they’re: The Internet lowers the entry barriers to political participation, it strengthens political dialogue, it creates community, it cannot be controlled by government, it increases voting participation, it permits closer communication with officials, and it spreads democracy world-wide. Both Tocqueville and Putnam stress the importance of networks of voluntary associations in support of a culture of trust and cooperation, which were essential to the successful functioning of democratic institutions.[4]

The low participant in political participation, it will effect to the policy that make by the government however the interest group will give big influence in creating a policy. Not only a policy but also the parliament will take by the person who has authority and has much money and control the policy making. According to David Winston  on his paper democracy is based on individualism, which is reflected in our ideas, freedom in all its forms, and in the effective balance of government and its people.[5]

The democratic functions of civil society seem long recognized. As Almond and Verba conclude from the examination of the survey data from five nations: the organizational member, political or not, compared with the nonmember, is likely to consider himself more competence as a citizen, to be a more active participant in politics. The member, in contrast with the nonmember, appears to approximate more closely what we have called the democratic citizen. He is competent, active, and open with his opinions. The most striking finding is that any membership — passive membership or membership in a nonpolitical organization — has an impact on political competence, and thus on pluralism, one of the most important foundations of political democracy.[6]

Nie, Powell and Prewitt also investigate the democratic functions of civil society in terms of its effects on political participation. As shown in the Figure I above, as the density and complexity of economic and secondary organizations increases, greater proportions of the population find themselves in life situations that lead to increased political information, political awareness, sense of personal political efficacy, and other relevant attitudes. These attitude changes, in turn, lead to increases in political participation.[7]

Civil society has yet another democratic function, that of facilitating democratic transitions. Montesquieu clearly believed from a theoretical perspective that civil society should function as a counterbalance to governments in order to inhibit their tyrannical tendencies; he also suggested that civil society actually did perform in this capacity.[8]

This is enforced by the empirical finding by Inglehart that organizational membership does show a statistically significant linkage with changes in levels of democracy from 1990 to 1995.[9] Weigle and Butterfield’s case studies of the democratic transitions in the Eastern European countries and in the former Soviet Union also show the important role played by the civil society.

What the civil society do to build and maintain democracy?[10] The most basic role of civil society is to limit and control the power of the state.  Of course, any democracy needs a well-functioning and authoritative state. Civil society actors should watch how state officials use their powers.  They should lobby for access to information, including freedom of information laws, and rules and institutions to control corruption. This constitutes a second important function of civil society:  to expose the corrupt conduct of public officials and lobby for good governance reforms.

The other function of civil society is to promote political participation. Civil society organizations can help to develop the other values of democratic life:  tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view. Civil society also can help to develop programs for democratic civic education in the schools as well. Civil society is an arena for the expression of diverse interests, and one role for civil society organizations is to lobby for the needs and concerns of their members, as women, students, farmers, environmentalists, trade unionists, lawyers, doctors, and so on..

A way civil society can strengthen democracy is to provide new forms of interest and solidarity that cut across old forms of tribal, linguistic, religious, and other identity ties.  Democracy cannot be stable if people only associate with others of the same religion or identity.

Civil society can provide a training ground for future political leaders.  NGOs and other groups can help to identify and train new types of leaders who have dealt with important public issues and can be recruited to run for political office at all levels and to serve in provincial and national cabinets. Civil society can help to inform the public about important public issues.  Civil society organizations can play an important role in mediating and helping to resolve conflict.  In other countries, NGOs have developed formal programs and training of trainers to relieve political and ethnic conflict and teach groups to solve their disputes through bargaining and accommodation.

A democratic state cannot be stable unless it is effective and legitimate, with the respect and support of its citizens.  Civil society is a check, a monitor, but also a vital partner in the quest for this kind of positive relationship between the democratic state and its citizens.


[2]Cory Janssen posted in Techlopedia. Retrieved November 7, 2013 from http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28252/slacktivism

[3] Prof. Miriam Budiardjo. (2008). Dasar-Dasar Ilmu Politik. Jakarta (ed. rev). PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

[4] GUO Gang. (1998) CIVIL SOCIETY: Definitions, Causes, and Functions. Retrieved from http://home.olemiss.edu/~gg/paperhtm/civlsoct.htm

[5] David Winston. Digital Democracy and the New Age of Reason. Retrieved November 5, 2013 from http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/winston.html

[6] Almond, Gabriel A., and Sidney Verba ed. (1980). The Civic Culture Revisited, Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p 320-321. In http://home.olemiss.edu/~gg/paperhtm/civlsoct.htm

[7] Nie, Norman H., G. Bingham Powell, Jr., and Kenneth Prewitt. (1969). Social Structure and Political Participation: Developmental Relationships, II, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 63, Issue 3. p 808-832.  In http://home.olemiss.edu/~gg/paperhtm/civlsoct.htm

[8] Harbeson, John W., Donald Rothchild and Naomi Chazan ed. (1994). Civil Society and the State in Africa, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. In http://home.olemiss.edu/~gg/paperhtm/civlsoct.htm

[9] Inglehart, Ronald. (1997). Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies, Princeton: Princeton University Press. In http://home.olemiss.edu/~gg/paperhtm/civlsoct.htm

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About Muhammad Choirul Rosiqin

I was born in Eastern Probolinggo, East Java, in 1994. I'm student of International Relations @University of Muhammadiyah Malang
This entry was posted in Demokrasi dan Civil Society. Bookmark the permalink.

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