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Two Civil Societies: History And Evolution

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Chapter Summary

In order to be able to situate the two Social Funds (SFs) within their respective contexts, this chapter focuses on the intertwined political and economic factors that have shaped state-civil society relations in Egypt and Bolivia. The chapter assesses the functioning of present-day Egyptian civil society based on: civil society's potential for generating alternative political discourse, legitimating and mobilizing collective action, establishing deliberative forums and networks, and acting as a potential deterrent to state abuse of power. Then, it highlights some major turning points in the life of modern Bolivian civil society. This includes innovative legal reforms undertaken in the late 1990s. The chapter assesses Bolivian civil society in terms of the above-mentioned functions. The analysis in the concluding section shows how the kind of soft-authoritarianism characterizing the Egyptian regime is an important determinant of state-civil society relations and one feature that distinguishes Egypt from Bolivia's democracy.

Keywords: Bolivian civil society; Egyptian civil society; legal reforms; social funds (SFs)



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