chapter  11
23 Pages

The Road to Democracy: A Three-Society Comparison of Civic Network Structures

WithYANLONG ZHANG AND HANG YOUNG LEE

Social scientists of a neo-Tocquevillean tradition have long held the view that voluntary associations are essential to the political and social vitality of democratic societies (Curtis, Baer and Grabb 2001). These associations perform crucial tasks of social integration and contribute collectively to the signifi cant amounts of economic and political activities in advanced industrial nations (Knoke 1986). The norms and networks of civic engagement powerfully aff ect the quality of public life and the performance of democratic governance (Fung 2003; Knoke 1986; Putnam 2000).