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Associations and Democracy: Between Theories, Hopes, and Realities Author(s): Archon Fung Source: Annual Review of Sociology,

Vol. 29 (2003), pp. 515-539 Published by: Annual Reviews Stable URL: Accessed: 29/05/2010 20:32
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Rev.Sociol.2003.29:515-39 Annu. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100134 reserved Reviews. ( 2003by Annual All rights Copyright as a Review 4, 2003 First in Advance published onJune online

Between ASSOCIATIONS ANDDEMOCRACY: Theories, Hopes, and Realities

JohnE Kennedy Schoolof Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts archonjfung 02138;email: Key Words participation, socialcapital,political governance, deliberation, sociology,democratic theory of interestandreU Abstract Overthe past decade,therehas been a resurgence This articledivides anddemocracy. betweenassociations searchintothe connections of associative to democracy intofourcomponent What contributions thequestion parts: (a) contributions maketo advance(c) contestdo (b) different kindsof associations governance in various(d) politicalcontexts?Associations ing ideals of democratic in at least six ways: throughthe intrinsicvalue of associative enhancedemocracy to power life, fosteringcivic virtuesand teachingpoliticalskills, offeringresistance fathe qualityand equalityof representation, and checkinggovernment, improving for citizens and groupsto and creatingopportunities cilitatingpublic deliberation, participate directlyin governance. are not all mutuallyconsoThese contributions nantwithone another, arebettersuitedto advance anddifferent formsof associations some contributions those who proposebolsteringassociathanothers.Furthermore, frequently have quite differentideals democracy tions as a strategyfor revitalizing to in mind. The forms and contributions of associationsappropriate of democracy threecontesting notionsof democratic governance-liberalminimalism, conventional representation-cum-administration, democracy-are also discussed. andparticipatory Finally,thedemocratic dependscruciallyon conof associative priority contributions societies.Undertyrannical of particular textualfeatures regimes,forexample,associationsthatresistgovernment thanthosethatfostercompliance aremorecrucial authority andrespectfor politicalinstitutions.

Over the past decade, therehas been a resurgenceof interestin and researchinto the connections between associations and democracy.This researchlies at the intersectionof sociology, political science, and democratictheory,and many of those who have made centralcontributions (Cohen & Rogers 1995, Putnam2000, Skocpol 1999) operate at the boundariesbetween these disciplines. By asking the general question "How do associations enhance democracy?"scholars have broughtcivil society andgroupsbackintothenormative andempiricalinvestigation 0360-0572/03/08110515$14.00 515


FUNG of democracy.This renewed attentionto the multiple mechanisms operatingin the space between economy, intimateprivatelife, and formal state structuresis welcome. In contrast to many early theorists of democracy such as Rousseau and Madison, much of this researchremainsquite celebratoryor at least hopeful aboutthe contributions that associationscan make to democraticgovernance.As its field has evolved, leaders have increasinglyrecognized that associational the forms,purposes,andimpactsarelegion. However,some kinds of associationscan threatendemocraticvalues ratherthan stabilizingthem. The general form of the question soon became "Whatkinds of associations are good for democracy,and why?" (ME Warren 2001; Rosenblum 1998a,b;Kaufman1999). The pages that follow review this recent body of work, make explicit a few of its embeddedcontroversies,and point out several silences. The now familiar assertionthathealthydemocracyrequiresrobustsocial structures and practicesof associationcan obscuremorethanit reveals.In theireffortsto unpackthis assertion conceptuallyand empirically,scholarshave failed to convergeon any consensus regardingthe ways in which associations contributeto democracy.Rather,the vantagefromwhichto elaborateenduring studyof associationshasbecome another disagreementsaboutthe ideal of democracyitself. To elucidatethe characterand depth of these disagreements,I divide the question of the relationshipbetween associations and democracyinto four component parts:What (a) contributions do (b) different kinds of associations make to advance (c) contesting ideals of democraticgovernancein various(d) political contexts? The first part of this extended question is familiar.Although a few authors 2001, Cohen & Rogers 1995) have been attentiveto the multiplemecha(Warren nisms throughwhich associationsimprovedemocracy,many other analystshave Thenextsectiondescribessix paths, focusedon a single, orjust a few, contributions. not all of them consonant,throughwhich associationshave been said to sustain democracy.Freedomof associationhas been viewed as an intrinsiccomponentof democracy.At the psychological andindividuallevel, associationsschool citizens by inculcatingcivic dispositions and teaching them skills necessary for political action.Especiallyin politicalcontextsof tyrannyor deep injustice,the centralcontributionsof associationshave been to check illegitimatepolitical power,to offer resistance,andto check official power.Wheredemocraticcircumstancesaremore by allowfirmly in place, associationscan improvethe quality of representation ing individuals-especially those who lack resources-to express their views in of civil society political arenas.Associations form a principalpartof the structure in which individualsdeliberatewith one anotherto formpublic opinions and criticisms of officials, policies, and state actions. Finally, some kinds of associations also createavenuesfor directparticipation in the regulationor production of public goods such as education,public safety, and the provisionof social welfare. Some very difof these contributionsare incompatiblewith one another.Furthermore, ferentkinds of associationsare likely to make these variouscontributions. Choral societies, for example,may fosterfarmoregeneralizedtrustin theirmembersthan cells. However,revolution,or at least resistance,is sometimesmore revolutionary



important for democracythangeneralizedtrust,andchoralsocieties offerless help in this regard.The forms, purposes,and membershipsof associations determine the extentto which they make these variouscontributions to democracy. Three ContestingDemocraticVisions (section below) structurestensions between these contrastingassociative contributionsand forms by sketching three visions of democraticgovernance:the classical liberal,the representaalternative democratic.Scholarsandpartisansworking tive democratic,and the participatory in each of these traditionshave been attractedto the notion that civil society and secondaryassociationsmake fundamental contributions to democracy.These contestingdemocraticvisions, however,emphasizequite differenteffects of association and so favorcontrastingassociativeforms. Classical liberalswhose vision of democracyprefersmaximizingthe realm of individualchoice and minimizing coercive capacitiesto advancecollective ends favorthe intrinsicvalue of freedom of associationas a componentof individualfreedomgenerally,buttheyrejectmany of the othercontributions of associationsbecause they may resultin the expansion of statepower and so compressthe scope of liberty.For those who emphasizethe in democraticgovernance,the centralconimportanceof interestrepresentation and tributionsof associations consist of enhancingthe quality of representation of associations The psychologicalandeducativecontributions public deliberation. are also important,however, to the extent that they facilitate representation and deliberation(Verbaet al. 1995). Those attractedto participatory democracyare also frequentlyattractedto the notion that associationscan contributeto existing democracyfor a numberof reasons.Neo-Tocquevillians(Kaufman1999, Putnam 2000; see discussion in Chambers& Kymlicka2002, p. 2) emphasizethe feature of associationsthatis commonto most accountsof participatory democracy:faceto-face cooperationin the pursuitof collective ends. For them, associationallife capturessome of the benefits of participatory democracywhile avoidingconventional objectionsthat direct participation in modernpolitics is unfeasible owing to scale, value pluralism,time constraints,and the complexity of modern governance.For neo-Tocquevillians, the educative,skill-building,and psychological democrats, of associationsare most crucial.For some participatory contributions accountgives up exactly thatfeatureof participahowever,the neo-Tocquevillian increasingthe control of ordinarypeople tory democracythat is most attractive: over theirown lives by allowing them to directly determinehow public power is exercised (Pitkin & Shumer 1982). For these participatory democrats,the most in public contribution important of associationsmay be eitherdirectparticipation governanceor political resistance. Although these unstateddifferencesdrive much of the confusion and controversy over the relationshipbetween associationsand democracy,the most importantcontributions thatassociationscan make to any particular society also depend on distinctivefeatures of that society's political context. Many analysts of associations, especially those writing about the North American context, have been insensitive to these contextualfeaturesby taking for grantedconsolidateddemocratic practices and institutions.Political Contexts (section below) explores the


FUNG relationshipbetween these situationsand the democraticpriorityof variousassoThose who haveexaminedthe role of associationsandcivil ciationalcontributions. society in developing countrieshave naturallybeen attentiveto these contextual differences.Consequently, theiraccountsfrequentlyemphasizedifferentcontributions of associations(Avritzer2002, Diamond 1999, Evans 1996). Wherethereare authoritarian governmentsor where basic democraticproceduresare young and fragile, the resistanceand checking functionsof civil society may be particularly important.Where levels of economic and humandevelopmentare low, the most of associationsmay be to organizeandmobilize individuals important contribution to help contribute to the provisionof publicgoods or to assurethatscarceresources (Baiocchi 2002). are equitablydistributed


that associationsallegedly Many authorshave compiled lists of the contributions make to democracy,and theirjoint list is long indeed.MarkE. Warren(2001) has offered the most comprehensiveaccount in this regard.He divides the functions in associationscan have of associationsinto threebroadcategories:Participation developmentaleffects on individualssuch as increasingtheir senses of efficacy, providingthem with political information,imbuingthem with political skills, developing their civic virtues, and teaching them to be critical. Associations, as a principalcomponentof civil society,can also serve as a mediumfor broadpolitical discourse and so have importantpublic-sphereeffects such as facilitatingpublic communication,representing difference,and representing commonality(Avritzer 2002; Habermas1991, 1996). Finally,associationscan have a host of institutional effects when they interactwith formal state structuresof legislation and administration.These include equalizing representation, which enables resistance, alternativegovernance,social coordination,and democraticlegitimation(Cohen & Rogers 1995, Hirst 1994). The following sections discuss six of the contributions of associationsto democracythathavereceivedthe greatestconceptualelaboration and empiricalscrutiny.

The Intrinsic Good of Association and Freedomto Associate

Partof the very definitionof liberaldemocraciesis thatthey createthe space for a pluralityof civic andpoliticalassociations(Dahl 1989, p. 233). An important question, therefore,concerns not what associations can do for democracy,but rather what liberal democracycan do for associations. The answer is that liberal institutions create legal protectionsthat allow a much broaderrange of associations illiberal states. These individual legal protecto flourish than do authoritarian, tions are importantbecause the freedom to choose one's associates, and to form associationsto advanceone's purposes,is a centralcomponentof individualfreedom. Apartfrom success or failurein advancingthose purposes,the experienceof



association is often valuable and pleasurablein itself. "Indeed,"George Kateb (1998, p. 37) writes, "themeans may mattermore than any end; the web of relations housedin an associationcan takeon tremendous value, greaterthanthe goals of the association." Nearly every liberal and democratwould agree with this sentiment.Pureclassical liberals, however, are distinctive in that their concern for the relationship betweendemocracyandassociationendswiththisconcernthatthefreedomto associate, whetherfor intrinsicor instrumental purposes,be preservedquiteapartfrom of the resultingassociations.So long as the law "maximizes the otherramifications the domainof the voluntary... [which]of course includesvoluntaryassociation," pure liberals"takeno sides concerningwhich forms of voluntaryassociationare to be preferred over others;all such questionsaredevolveddown to the level of individuals"(Lomasky2002, pp. 64-65). Many scholarsin this areahave anguished over the shape and characterof associations in society. Are they declining? Do they promotetrustandtolerancein members?Shouldassociationsbe inclusiveand their membershipsheterogenous?Are horizontallyorganizedassociations more conduciveto democraticvalues thanverticallyorganizedones? Classical liberals need not be concernedwith this range of questions concerningassociations.Dea centralinsight of this position is thatthe spite otherobjectionsto libertarianism, freedom to form associations is itself a valuable accomplishmentand milestone for democracy. Politicalsociologists have generatedsome evidence supporting this hypothesis encourage range democratic institutions wider of that liberal a associations and deeper associationalactivity than do less liberal forms. In a recent comparative study thatcombines datafrom the WorldValuesSurveywith indicatorsof liberal democracy,Pamela Paxton tested for the "reciprocaleffect" of democracyupon associations:that "more associations would be expected to exist when governments allow them to exist" (Paxton2002, p. 259). She found that,controllingfor an arrayof factors,countriesthatare more democraticdo generatemore associations of all kinds, but thatthis effect is quite modest. Political theoristshave long presumedthatthereis a strongandpositive correlation between liberaldemocracy and associationaldensity and diversity.Paxton'sstudyis one of the few to test this presumption of the reciprocaleffect empirically.The effect is in the predicteddirectionbutis weak, and so illuminatesa gap betweenpolitical theoryandpolitical sociology thatmerits additionalinvestigation.

CivicSocialization andPolitical Education

Of the hypothesized on democracy, the category thathas effectsof associations received themostcontemporary attention hasconcerned how associations affect skills, and behaviors the attitudes, of individuals in ways thatbenefitdemocof thisviewfocusesuponthe attitudes racy.Oneversion anddispositions of citizens. In this view, secondaryassociationsinculcatecivic virtuesin theirmembers. Such virtuesinclude attentionto the public good, habitsof cooperation,toleration,


FUNG respect for others,respect for the rule of law, willingness to participatein public 2001, life, self-confidence,and efficacy (for a descriptionof this view, see Warren p. 73). To the extent that individualspossess these values, democracyitself becomes more robust,fair, and effective in myriadways. A second version of this view focuses on civic skills ratherthan virtues. Here, associations are important schools of democracybecause they teach their membersskills-how to organize themselves,runmeetings,writeletters,argueissues, andmake speeches--that are necessaryfor all mannerof political action. In an account of this view that has received substantialscholarly attention, RobertPutnam(Putnamet al. 1993, Putnam2000) has singled out one civic virtue important: as particularly generalizedreciprocity.He arguesthat associations of all kinds frequentlyfoster adherenceto a principle of generalizedreciprocityin their members:"I'll do for you now, without expecting anythingimmediatelyin returnand perhapseven withouteven knowing you, confidentthat down the road you or someone else will returnthe favor"(Putnam2000, p. 134). Pervasivegeneralizedreciprocity, furthermore, contributes to successfuldemocraticgovernance two will First, citizens of democraticgovcomply with the requirements in ways. ernmentmore often, make sure that others comply, and so help solve pervasive free-riderproblems:"Peoplewho trusttheirfellow citizens... serve more readily on juries, ... comply more fully with theirtax obligations,... are less likely to lie, cheat, or steal, and are more likely to respectthe rights of others"(Putnam2000, pp. 136-137). Second, generalizedreciprocityenables citizens, in part because they can overcome free-riderproblems, to demand accountabilityfrom governments and to sanctionthem when they fail to perform(Putnamet al. 1993, p. 182; Levi 1996). This secondpathintroduceselementsof the resistance,representation, and deliberationfunctionsof associationsdiscussedbelow. Accordingto Putnam, the civic virtueof generalizedreciprocity,and social capitalmore generally,both facilitates and is generatedby many kinds of associative activity, including not only apoliticalcivic groupsbut also social movements(2000, p. 152-154). Beyond generalized reciprocity and other civic virtues, some scholars have arguedthat a centralcontributionof associationsis to teach their membersskills that are useful in political associations and institutions(Cohen & Rogers 1995, Verba et al. 1995). In their resource model, Verbaet al. argue that patternsof participationare explained not just by socioeconomic factors, but also by the resources necessary for participation.These resources are not just material,but also include time and civic skills. If this model is correct,then associationsthat Through teachcivic skills improvedemocracyby enhancingpoliticalparticipation. surveyresearch,Verbaet al. find thatmany adultsdo indeed acquireand practice civic skills-making decisions in meetings and planning them, writing letters, and makingpresentations and speeches-in the course of fulfilling theirduties in many kinds of associations.Participation patternsin most associationsdo reflect an underlyingsocioeconomic bias: Those who are wealthier are more likely to participate in associationsand so acquirethe skills necessaryto participate in other partsof politicallife. However,Verbaet al. findthatchurchesandsynagogueshave



a leveling effect in this regard.Adults are as likely to acquireand practicecivic skills in religious organizationsas in other kinds of associations. However,poor respondentswere as likely to be involved with church organizationsas wealthy ones (Verbaet al. 1995, pp. 309-320). Are some kinds of associationsmore likely to inculcatethese civic virtuesand skills than others? Since both civic virtues and skills are acquiredin the course of relativelydense interactionsbetween members,organizationsthatprovideoparemore likely to generatethese individual portunities for face-to-faceinteraction withoutmembers"-associations in which theprincipal effects thanthe "advocates activityandcontribution of most membersis financialsupport-so ably criticized by ThedaSkocpol (1999). In the same vein, horizontallyorganizedassociationsthose with chapters,meetings, local activities, and dense interactions-are therefore more likely to imbue civic skills and virtuesthanhierarchically, or vertically, organizedassociations. Beyond this straightforwardminimum, however, scholars disagree about whethersome kinds of associations-those with public as opposedto privatepurposes, those with inclusive and heterogenousversus homogenous memberships, and those with social andcivic versusexplicitly politicalmissions-are morecongenial to conferringcivic virtues and skills to their members.Many of the most prominent authors-such as Putnamet al. (1993, p. 175), Cohen & Rogers(1995), Skocpol (1999), and Diamond(1999, p. 227-233)-have arguedthatassociations conduciveto democracythemselveshaveformsthatareconsistentwith democratic principles: To what extent does it practice democraticprinciples of constitutionalism, accountability,participation,deliberation,representation, and transparency, rotationof leadersin the way it makes decisions and allocates its own power and resources... if, in its own patternsof governance,it perpetuatesnorms thatpenalizedissent, exalt the leaderover the group,andcloak the exercise of power,one thing it will not do is build a cultureof democracy.If civil society organizationsare to function as "largefree schools" for democracy... they must functiondemocraticallyin theirinternalprocesses. (Diamond 1999) andcommonargument NancyRosenblumhas called this attractive the "congruence thesis."The thesis holds thatassociationsthataregood for democracyassume forms thatarecongruentwith politicaldemocracywritlarge:"thatthe internallife of associations mirrorliberal democraticpractices and principles"(Rosenblum 1999a, p. 36). She rejectsthe congruencethesis. She arguesinsteadthatthe moral benefits of associationsfor theirmembersare frequentlyunintended,and so state measuresintendedto promotecivic virtueby manipulating the purposesandstructuresof associationswill frequentlyfail (Rosenblum1998a,b).A rich pluralityof associations-many of them illiberal in their doctrines and practices, exclusive in organization-can neverthelesscontributeto in memberships,and hierarchical democracyby fostering self-respectin individualswhose membershipsin these associationsare often multiple,cross-cutting,and dynamic.



Resistanceand CheckingPower
Resistanceto dominationand antidemocratic powerhas been long thoughtto be a centralcontribution of associationsto democraticgovernance.The basic notion is a simple one: Organizedassociationsof all kinds can potentiallyact as a sourceof interests.When power againststateauthority or otherconcentrated countervailing associationallife is rich, those associations can offer resistanceto tyrantsor authoritarians who might otherwise dominatethem (ME Warren2001, pp. 85-86). Resistance has largely fallen into the backgroundin many contemporary discussions of associations and civil society, especially for those concerned primarily with maturedemocracies. In contexts where democraticinstitutionsare young, fragile, or even absent, however,the prime contributionof associationsto democracyoften has been reExamplesabound.Diamondreviewsthe contribusistanceto illegitimateauthority. tions of student,worker,civic, andprofessionalassociationsto democraticreform in South Korea,Chile, Nigeria, and South Africa by "checking,monitoring,and restrainingthe exercise for power by... states and holding them accountableto the law and public expectationsof responsiblegovernment"(Diamond 1999, p. 243-241). "The teachers,writers,andjournalistsof the Czech underground, the shipyardworkersand intellectualsof Poland'sSolidarity,and the pastorsand laytheirresistanceinto the men who met in East Germanchurchcrypts"transformed revolutionsof 1989 (Ignatieff 1995). Under merely corruptbut not authoritarian conditions, associationscan also help to check the abuse of power by monitoring officials and makingtheir actions more transparent (Jenkins& Goetz 1999). Sometimes, the forms and configurationsof associations that offer effective politicalresistanceto illegitimatepowerwill resemblethose associationsthatmake to democraticgovernance.The very same more civic or cooperativecontributions churches that provided resources for resistance to white supremacyduring the Americancivil rightsmovementorto Communistoppressionin EastGermanyalso andfosteredpublic inculcatedrespectfor the rule of law, equalizedrepresentation, in morepeacefulperiods.However,the purposes,forms,andeffects of deliberation areoften antithetical to those associationsthatsuccessfullyresistpoliticalauthority various kinds support governments. generate for that of democratic Associations that form the core of resistance and freedom fighterswho confront tyrannyand oppressionin one context can become pockets of intolerance,distrust,and even illegality thatthreatensocial orderin others. Heinz Klug (1995) offers the example of the South Africanrevolution.There, a rich configuration of political and civic associationswon an end to the apartheid regimewith a new constitutionin 1993 andopen elections in 1994. Fromthe associationalperspective,the deep civic sourcesof this revolutionshould have helped to establish the conditions for a fuller associative democracyin the postrevolutionaryperiod.However,centralassociationaldynamicsthatmade the revolution successful in the contextof oppressivegovernmentin fact limitedthe possibilities for associative democracyin more democraticcontexts. Political repression,for example, fosteredsecrecy,intolerance,and political conformityin anti-Apartheid



associations that "often rejected and expelled those who collaboratedwith the Apartheidstate while... activists... often advocateda simplistic division of all membersof the communityinto those who were for or against 'the system.' All too often, this [led] activists to characterize those with whom they [had]political differencesas the enemy"(Klug 1995, p. 219). These associationaldynamicshave era. One contributedto the divisive politics that characterizethe post-Apartheid dimension of this polarizationis that deep rifts have grown between the African thatwere once their allies. NationalCongressand the civic organizations More generally,those associations that are most capable of offering political resistance may be unlikely to foster a range of civic virtues such as tolerance, generalized reciprocity and trust, and respect for the rule of law. First, one of the ways in which activists and theirassociationsdevelop solidarityand mobilize cognitiveframesthatset dominantactorsandinstitutionsas supportis to articulate of oppressionandinjustice(Snow & Benford 1986, Benford& Snow perpetrators 2000). The virtues that such framesencourageare more likely to be dispositions virtues towardcriticism,suspicion,anddisobedience,which areindeeddemocratic in contextsof seriousinjusticebutneverthelessquitedistinctfrommorecommonly cited civic virtuessuch as those discussedabove. Second, organizations capableof offering resistance,especially in climates of severe repression,frequentlydo not follow democratic Exigencies of survivaland principlesin theirinternaloperations. effectivenesspress manyof themto adoptformsthatareneitheropen, transparent, horizontal,nor clearly accountable.

Still a fourthcontribution of associationsto democraticgovernanceis to improve ways in which interestsare represented into law and to lawmakersand translated policy. Associations offer additionalchannels--beyond voting, lobbying, and direct contactwith public officials-for individualsto press their public concerns. andso the qualityof democAssociationscanimprovethequalityof representation, racy more broadly,in severalways when they transmitthe needs and preferences of theirmembersto government.The views communicatedby associationsin areas such as healthcare, social security,education,and nationalsecuritypolicy are rich thanthinnerchannelsof likely to be more detailed,nuanced,and information representation associations often organizeinterests such as voting. Furthermore, with less regardto territorial boundariesand so may introducegeographicallydispersedintereststhatwouldbe otherwisepoliticallymute.Finally,associationsmay be betterable to transmitintensitiesof interestto officials thanformalchannelsof 2001, pp. 83-84). representation (Cohen & Rogers 1995, pp. 42-44; ME Warren Beyond improving its quality,proponentsfor increasing the role of associations in democraticgovernancehave arguedthatassociationscan also enhancethe equality of political representation: Politics is materiallyconditioned,and inequalities in materialadvantageof the sort definitiveof capitalismtranslatedirectlyinto inequalitiesin political


FUNG power. Groups can help remedy these inequalities by permittingindividuals with low per capita resourcesto pool those resourcesthroughorganization... groups can promote a more equitable distributionof advantageby correctingfor imbalancesin bargainingpower that follow from the unequal controlof wealth. (Cohen & Rogers 1995, p. 43). inequalities that stem from Associations may also equalize representational the intense interests of minorities and from the relative concentrationof policy beneficiaries. In most arenas,however,the notion that associationscan equalize representation remainsmore a hope thanreality.Michael Walzerwrites that "it is a general rule of civil society thatits strongestmembersget stronger. The weakerandpoorer membersareeitherunableto organizeat all-or they formgroupsthatreflecttheir weakness and poverty"(Walzer2002, p. 39). The study of social movements is dedicatedto examiningthe conditionsunderwhich this generalrule is broken,but those exceptions perhapsprove the rule. In political science and political sociology, group researchhas consistently shown that "the flaw in the pluralistheaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with an upper class accent" (Schattschneider 1960, p. 35). This is true both for individualparticipation-those of higher socioeconomic statusjoin at higher rates-and in sectoral representation. Among than Washingtongroups,businessesandindustriesenjoy moreoverrepresentation any otherinterest(Baumgartner & Leech 1998). It is important to note that those who favor associations as a path to equal representation do not claim that premake Rather,they that existing associationalconfigurations contribution. already policy interventions "a deliberate appropriate that could encourage claim politics of association"that equalize interest representation (Cohen & Rogers 1995). A substantialgap, however, separatesthe existing reality of inequality-reinforcing associations and a hoped-forpolitics of equality-enhancing association. Furthermore, the forms of associationthat would best serve otherwise underrepresentedinterestsin the political arenamay not be well suited to makingother democraticcontributionssuch as political socialization,resistance,and deliberaassociationsdescribed tion. Againstthe commonwisdom of inequality-reinforcing above,JeffreyBerryhas recentlyarguedthata numberof associationshave indeed been successfulatpressingcauses suchas environmentalism, consumerprotection, andracialandgenderequalityin Americanpolitics (Berry1999). Thoughhe calls them citizens' groups, many of the organizationsthat have won these victories are large lobbying organizationswhose members do little more than contribute financialresources.These kinds of associations,given the opportunitystructures of contemporary political institutions,may be best suited to equalizingrepresentation.They do not, however,resemblethe face-to-faceorganizations imaginedby Rosenblum,Putnam,Skocpol, or, indeed, Tocquevillehimself.

Public Deliberationand the Public Sphere

Beyond representinginterests,JiirgenHabermas(1996), Jean Cohen & Andrew Arato (1994), and others have argued that a chief democratic contributionof



associations is to facilitate public deliberation.For critical theorists and others, the idea of deliberationis fundamentally differentfrom conventionalconceptions of interestrepresentation. The shift, as Simone Chambers puts it, is from "votingcentric"to "talk-centric" 2002, p. 98). Public decisions redemocracy(Chambers sult from the aggregationof fixed interestsand preferencesthat compete through the mechanisms of power and money in voting-centric,representative politics. Public decision making becomes more deliberativeto the extent that it reflects the resultsof an equal and open communication approcess in which participants peal to reasonsthatotherscan accept,ratherthanto force, money, sheernumbers, or status.Deliberation,as Habermas(1984, p. 25) put it famously, "excludesall force... except the force of the betterargument." Whereaspolitical decisions are always subject to influence from money and otherformsof social power,proponentsof deliberativedemocracyoften see associations as helping to constitutea space, called the public sphere,in which more nearly ideal processes of communicationcan occur.It is in these more open and inclusive spaces that social problemsand priorities-environmental degradation, the burdenof social risks (Beck 1999)-are often initially racial discrimination, articulated to political and economic spheres(Habermas1996, p. and transmitted 359): Civil society is composedof those more or less spontaneouslyemergentassociations,organizations, andmovementsthat,attunedto how societalproblems resonatein the privatelife sphere,distill andtransmitsuch reactionsin amplifiedformto the public sphere.The core of civil society comprisesa networkof associationsthat institutionalizeproblemsolving discourses on questionsof generalinterestinside the framework of organizedpublic spheres.These "discursive designs" have an egalitarian,open form of organizationthat mirrors aroundwhich they crystallize essentialfeaturesof the kind of communication and to which they lend continuityand permanence.(Habermas1996, p. 367) Although,in Habermas'sview, these associations and the public spheremore generally cannot solve the problems they raise (they need the state to do that), they can set a public agenda and steer formal political systems in directionsset by fair deliberation.Again, actual civil societies and deliberativeprocesses in the public sphere fall far short of this ideal. Nancy Fraser (1992) has pointed out that underlyinginequalitiesof resources and status infect discourses in any public sphere,and so it is impossible to "bracket inequalities"in ways thatmake reason-givingand argumentation dispositive. What sorts of associationscontributeto public deliberationin this way? Mark E. Warrencontends that "associationsthat are likely to keep the public sphere vital are those that have something to gain by going public, and... they must have the capacity to projecttheir voice over time and space" (2001, p. 164). So, interestgroups,public interestorganizations,and social-movementorganizations all seek to addressand persuadethe broaderpublic as partof their mission, and so on this line of reasoning,contributeto public deliberation.Otherassociations with privateor nonpoliticalpurposes-such as self-help groups, sportsclubs, and


FUNG choral societies--contributeless or not at all to the public sphereon this account. Theda Skocpol (1999) argues that encompassing associations that include both for a healthypublicsphere.She important workingpeople andelites areparticularly contendsthatthe contrastingoutcomesbetween the 1944 GI Bill-which created generous educationalopportunitiesfor millions of Americanveterans-and the failed 1993 healthcarereformwas due in partto the differencesin the associations that constitutedthe public sphere. In 1944, she argues, large associations, such people could articulate as the AmericanLegion, createdspaces in which ordinary andmobilize when theirneeds, persuadeelite membersof theirown organizations, necessary.By 1993, associationallife had desiccated. The health care debate of thatyear, analogousto the debatesover the GI Bill, was dominatedby top-heavy, elite organizationsthat were incapableof mobilization and trappedin gridlock. That associationalconfigurationresulted, in part, in the failure to extend health insurancecoverageto the millions of low-income families.

Direct Governance
The five associative contributionsto democracyjust describedall have in common two features.First, they are all compatiblewith relativelysharpseparations between the civil sphere of associationsand the state on one hand and economy on the other (Fraser 1992). Second, they do not requireany fundamentaltransformation of the state in either the scope of governmentaction or its methods These associativecontributionsare frontof administration and implementation. loaded in the sense that they seek to improve the quality of input into a largely unchanged democraticmachineryof legislation and policy making. A number of scholars,however,have suggested that associationsand their membersshould play a more directrole in the state functionsof regulation,service provision, and of governancein this way, More radicalreconfigurations even policy formulation. above, addressdemocraticdeficits on the input would, as the othercontributions side of the governanceequation.Distinctively,however,the directinvolvementof associations in a range of traditionalstate functions would also help to address deep limitationsin the outputside of the state:the capacitiesof public authorities to solve public problems. One ambitious,maximal version of associative democracycomes from Paul Hirst (1994), who arguesthat state and economy should be restructured in ways that give associationsa much greaterrole in social and economic productionand governance.Thefundamental is that"voluntary basis of his program self-governing meansof democratic associationsgraduallyandprogressivelybecome the primary governanceof economic and political affairs."How might this shift occur?Hirst suggests the following: First,thatthe state should cede functionsto such associations,and createthe them. Second, that mechanismsof public financewherebythey can undertake the means to the creation of an associative order in civil society are builtup, such as alternativesources of mutual finance for associative economic



agencies thataid voluntarybodies and theirpersonnelto conduct enterprises, theiraffairseffectively, and so on. This is... intendedto be... a gradualproproceedingas fast as the commitmentto change by cess of supplementation, political forces, and the capacity to accept tasks by voluntaryassociations allows. (Hirst 1994, pp. 20-21). Hirst's vision seeks to extrapolateupon inspiringdevelopmentsin economic developmentsuch as successful industrialdistricts (Whyte & Whyte 1988) and partnerships in public-private in social service provision. Skeptics might raise a range of objections,stemmingfrom considerationsaboutthe desirabilityof such a programto its organizationalfeasibility. No doubt the first steps towardsuch an encompassingsocioeconomic reconstruction would encounterstiff hurdlesof political resistance from officials and businessmen who perform functions that wouldbe cededto associations.However,similarobjectionsmightbe raisedagainst anygrandproposal,associativeor otherwise.Hirst'sprogram neverthelessexpands our political imaginationregardingthe potentialcontributionsof associationsto democraticgovernance. JoshuaCohen & Joel Rogers have offered anotherambitiousassociativeprogram(1995) thatrecommendsa muchmore intimaterelationshipbetween associations andgovernmentto addressby now well-knownlimitationsof welfarestates in social andeconomic regulation.They recommendthatassociationsplay a much larger role, operatingin conjunctionwith formal public authorities,in "(1) the formulationof policy, (2) the coordinationof economic activity in the shadowof policy, and (3) the enforcementand administration of policy" (Cohen & Rogers 1995, p. 55). Increasingthe role of associationsin these statefunctions,Cohenand into policy formulation Rogers argue,would introducehigher-quality information and enhancethe level of cooperationbetween associativerepresentatives of comthat standbetween governments plexly interdependent actors. As intermediaries and subjects,associationscan help improvepolicy implementation by leveraging local knowledge,encouragingcompliance,andmonitoringoutcomes.To consider just one example, policies to protectworkerhealth and safety are presentlyhobbled by the problem of "too many plants and too few inspectors"as well as by incrediblediversityamong those plants.To remedythese defects, public agencies mightenlist"forceson the ground"-many of themalreadyin place-such as local unions and workerhealth and safety committees (Cohen & Rogers 1995). These associationscould provideinformationaboutpracticesand conditionsthatwould improvepolicy, educate membersand other workersabout best safety practices, monitoring,and participatein enforcement participatedirectly in environmental actions such as the reportingof violations or closing of plants. Like Hirst'sprogram,this vision of associativegovernancewould requiresubstantialpolicy interventionsto foster a diverse and inclusive ecology of associations that have the wherewithalto collaboratewith governmentin these ways. Cohen & Rogers argue that "groupsare... importantlyartifactual" in that patterns of association stem just as much from legal opportunitiesand constraints,


FUNG structural featuresof the political economy, and materialinequalitiesas from the historiesandexogenouspreferencesof individuals(Cohen& Rogers 1995, p. 46). They thereforeprescribedeliberatepolicies to foster the kinds of associationsthat can underwritefair and effective governancethroughmeasuressuch as lowering to unionization(80), invitingassociationsinto policy-makingforums,embarriers powering associationsto implementand enforce policy, subsidies, and imposing and openness. requirements of democraticaccountability, ErikOlin Wrightand I have suggestedyet a thirdapproach thatwe have called Governance(EPG) (Fung & Wright2003). EPG is an EmpoweredParticipatory institutionalmodel for participatory democracythat is based on a set of diverse public experimentsthatinclude neighborhoodgovernancein the city of Chicago, budgeting in several novel approachesto ecosystem management,participatory Braziliancities, and local governmentreformsin the Indianstate of Kerala.Like the associative-governance approachesof Hirst and Cohen & Rogers, EPG posits of governmentin ways that invite social actors to a substantialreconfiguration participatein decision makingand administration. Whereasassociations standas the intermediaries in those approaches, betweencitizens andformalstatestructures the EPGmodeldescribesinstitutional formsthatcreateavenuesin which individual citizens may participate directlyin decision making.Withcommunitypolicing in Chicago, for example, citizens can attendmonthly neighborhoodmeetings with police officers at which they engage in joint decisions regardingthe prioritization of public problemsand developmentof solutionsto addressthose priorities(Fung 2001). Similarly,villagers in the municipalitiesof Keralaparticipatedirectly in the formulationof local developmentplans underthe government's"democratic reforms(ThomasIsaac & Heller 2003). decentralization" Althoughcitizen participation is less mediatedby organizations in EPG thanin the programsof Hirstor Cohen & Rogers, associationsneverthelessfigureimportantly in EPG (Fung 2002). Real-worldreformsthat create the participatory opportunitiesdescribedby EPG areoften pressedby social-movementorganizations thatfavorlocal control,stateaccountability, or social equity.EPG,then,is often the reformsdemandedby associationswho view participatory productof institutional democracyas a means towardparticular policy goals such as saferneighborhoods or moreaccountable police. Associationscan thusplay a generativerole in creating EPG institutions.Once reformsarein place, those same associationsor theirallies institutionsagainst play important roles in stabilizingand defendingparticipatory counterreforms. Public officials, for example, often grow uncomfortable with the and seek to recentralizeor reinsulatetheir agencies from burdensof participation the vicissitudes of politics. Similarly,associations can mobilize and equip individuals to participatein the political opportunitiesthat EPG offers. Especially in impoverishedareas, many individualswill lack the motives, information,or skills necessary to effectively engage in participatory democraticopportunities. In many EPG reforms (Fung & Wright 2001), secondary associations such as social-movementorganizationshave trainedand recruitedcitizens to participate the relationship in these ways. Furthermore, between EPG reformsto formalstate



structures associations not onlybreath is reciprocal. Associations andsecondary life intothisvariety butformal, direct,anddeliberaof participatory democracy, publicpolicyandstateactioncreateincentives to influence tive opportunities for individuals associations 2001). secondary to createandmaintain (Baiocchi

THREE CONTESTING DEMOCRATIC VISIONS Thesesix contributions to the qualityof democratic governance of associations conflictwithone another. above,theformsof potentially Similarly, as discussed one of these andpublicregulation of association thatbest advance association contributions differfromthe formsandregulations frequently thatbest advance of thedifficulty in formuInthissection, that part contributions. theother I suggest about to democracy stems latinggeneralizations of associations thecontributions butalsofromanother confusion. notjustfromtheseincompatibilities, Advocates background idealsaboutdemocracy andscholars alikehaveheldquitedifferent itself.Contrasting governance idealsof democratic relyuponthe six associative accounts of the to verydifferent andso entertain distinctive contributions degrees, relationship Thissectionbrieflyconsiders anddemocracy. betweenassociations threesuchvisionsof democracy: conventional representation liberal minimalism, withbureaucratic administration, andparticipatory democracy. Liberal Minimalism generally supports the freedom liberal A classicalminimal visionof democracy freeto associate of individuals as a component of individual withone another the causalarrow dom.Fromthisvantage, pointsfromdemocracy to association rather contributes thantheotherwayaround: to associations. Liberal Democracy shouldrespecta broad rangeof individual democracies rights,andassociations naturally by individuals fromtheexercise as theypursue will result of theserights Classical purposes. value,then,the liberals andcollective principally theirprivate so that to associate intrinsic goodof association andpreservation of thefreedom individuals mayjoin withothers theirself-chosen to pursue ends. Becauseclassicalliberals(Lomasky 2002, Nozick 1974)favora statethatis in the sensethatit performs suchas protecting minimal just a few functions inpotential democracy are dividual several to liberties, contributions associative not important Indeed,to the extentthatassociaparticularly to liberalminimalists. in thosewaysmayextend theroleandreachof thestate,liberal tionscontributing hostileto them.Forexample, the associations that maybe positively minimalists represent socialinterests maygenerate the spaceforpublicdeliberation or create of socialprotections of rentsto special pressures for the expansion or provision liberal interests contributions-taxes-towhich inturn that minrequire collective object. typically maypressfortheintrusive Worse still,groups imalists regulation of associations on the basisof theirreligion, excludepersons that,for example,


FUNG racialbackground, or gender.Liberalminimalistsshouldobjectmore stronglystill in governance.All of these measuresextend to proposalsfor directparticipation the reach of collective coercive power into economic and social realms of life that should, on the strong classical liberal view, be left to individualratherthan collective choice. Liberal minimalists are somewhat more friendly to the socialization and resistance contributions of associations.Both of these may instrumentally stabilize sociopolitical orders.To the extentthata voluntaryandplural liberal-individualist ecology of associationsfosters civic virtues such as tolerance,the state itself may be less disposed to violate individualliberties. Associations that are capable of resistingthe powerof the stateandcheckingits expansionary tendenciessimilarly stabilize liberalorders.

Representative Democracy
Much of the commentaryupon associationsand democracyhas probedthe ways in which associationspromoteor erodethe healthof familiarrepresentative demoThere central contributions institutions. are three associative in cratic this regard: (a) civic socialization and political education, (b) interest representation,and (c) public deliberation. Many of the scholarsoperatingin this tradition have decriedthe failings of congovernment(Putnam2000, Skocpol 1999). They view temporaryrepresentative robustassociations as one method for revitalizingrepresentative government.In this vein, representative governmentimproves when associations foster dispositions in individualsto participate in public life and teachthem the skills necessary to do so effectively.This enthusiasm,however,lies in some tensionwith the actual effect of organizedpoliticalinterestgroups.As discussedabove,existing structures of interestgroupsfrequently reinforcematerialinequalityandsocial exclusion, and so reduce the quality of democraticgovernanceon egalitariangrounds. Though some proponentsof associative democracyhave offered proposals for how the inequality-reinforcing effect of associationsmight be mitigatedor even reversed (Cohen & Rogers 1995), many enthusiastsof associationhave failed to confront squarely.Even as associationscontribute to representative this conundrum democracy by socializing individualsand teaching them political skills, they may also erode the quality of representationby reinforcing and exacerbatingsocial and materialinequalities. Those who view associations as principallybenefiting representative institutions are also frequentlysilent regardingthe resistanceand checking of contributions of associations.On one hand,associationsthatcan monitorandcheck official andcontribute to the qualityof public political behaviorhelp to controlcorruption debateoverall.However,some associationsthatofferpoliticalresistance-such as militias and militantorganizations-are quite unlikely to foster civic dispositions such as toleration,respectfor the rule of law, trustin government,and generalized reciprocity.



Those who delimit their investigationsof associations to the realm of representativepolitical institutionsalso avoid engaging those who are concernedwith alternativestructures of democraticgovernancein which associations or individBecause directlyin legislation,policy making, or administration. uals participate such institutionsare relatively immatureand uncommon,they have avoided the gaze of most political sociologists and political scientists.

Participatory Democracy
Some scholarsmaintainthat the most promisingcontributionsof associationsto democracyrevolve aroundits potential to revitalize participatory impulses and ideals. They can be divided into two camps. In one camp are those who see secondary associations as alreadycapable of vindicatingthe ideals of participatory In anotherarethose who see greatparticipatory democracy. potentialin secondary associationsbut argue that harnessingthat potentialrequiresdeeper transformations in formal institutions,for example, by inviting associations to share in the orby devolvingdecisionmakingor administrative power exerciseof stateauthority to venues thatare directlyaccessible to citizens. The first favors secondaryassociations because they create opportunitiesfor face-to-face engagement.In this view, one of the most attractiveaspects of paritself, and associationscan ticipatorydemocracyis the experienceof participation provide that experience. Part of what is valuable is intrinsic, and part is instrumental. When a member exercises direct voice over an association's decisions regardingits purposes, strategies,and actions, the exercise is itself valuable as a social, collective, and potentiallypolitical act. Furthermore, to the extent that the conduct and rules of the association affect importantaspects of the member's life, participatory within the associationalso securea measureof procedures self-governmentand organizational accountability. In this view, distinctivelyand manyof thebenefitsof participatory withinterestingly, democracycanbe captured representative of government out alteringthe formal, institutionalarrangements and hierarchical Most participatory democratshave viewed decision bureaucracy. democracy andso participatory makingwithinthe stateas the locus of participation in political structures.Some has been thoughtto requireradicaltransformations recentworkon associations,however,has viewed interactionswithin associations experience.In liberaldemocracies, themselvesas the principalsite of participatory secondaryassociationsmake their own rules of internalgovernance.When those rules follow participatory democraticprinciples,associationscan indeed provide their memberswith a measureof participatory democraticexperience. In the field of social movements,for example,FrancescaPollettahas described how resistanceorganizationssuch as the StudentNon-ViolentCoordinating Committee (SNCC) createdspaces for directdeliberationand individualpoliticization (Polletta2001, 2002). MarkR. Warren (2001a,b) cited free spacescreatedfor faceeffortsof Texas' Industrial to-face discussionby the community-organizing Areas Foundation(IAF) as the kernelof a kind of participatory democracythatmay help


FUNG revitalizeAmericandemocracygenerally.To be sure,these social movementsare not indifferentto the dispositionof political power and decision in formalarenas. Using a similarcase drawnfrom the Pacific Institutefor CommunityOrganizing (PICO), Wood (2001, p. 260) writes that the aim of such face-to-face publics is to "projectpower into the public arena."Participatory democracywithin associations may be an effectiveway of constitutingthatpower(MRWarren 2001b, Wood participatory decision makingwithinas2001, Polletta2002). More speculatively, sociations may also prefigurebroaderinstitutionalizedforms of governancethat some social movementsfavor. Scholars of civic engagement such as Putnam & Skocpol--though they focus on contributionsto representative governmentratherthan resistance to italso view voluntaryassociations as the main spaces for a kind of participatory democracyin which membersdevelop democraticskills and sentiments.Though democratsin the sense civic-engagementscholars are not typically participatory that they recommendsubstitutingsome representative or bureaucratic structures with directlyparticipatory ones, they often favorassociationalspacesbecausethey and organizationmore make individualacts of political reflection,participation, frequentin public life. Putnamand othersworkingin the civic-engagementtradition have developeda novel hybridview thatvibrantrepresentative democracyin formalpublic institutionsrequiresa robustparticipatory democracywhose scope is limited to private,secondaryassociations:"thehealthof Americandemocracy, ... the health of our public institutions,depends, at least in part, on widespread participation in voluntarygroups"(Putnam2000, p. 336). of political inA second group of scholars focuses upon the transformation stitutionsas well as the developmentof secondaryassociations.They reject any limitation of ideals and practices of direct participationto the voluntary civic arenaof secondaryassociations.Instead,they see greatpromisein those kinds of practices and values into the hearts of associations that can extend participatory democpublic institutions.Forthem,the best realizationof workableparticipatory of both pubracy requiresthe simultaneous,mutuallyreinforcing,transformation lic institutionsand secondaryassociations.Three distinctapproacheswithin this category--those of Hirst (1994), Cohen & Rogers (1995), and Fung & Wright (2003)--were surveyedabove in Direct Governance.Althoughthese approaches demodiffer in manyrespects,they sharein common the traditional participatory of representative cratic commitmentthat the familiarpolitical structures politics and bureaucratic administration frequentlyoperatein unjust,unaccountable,and ineffective ways, and that these defects be addressedin partby making politics more participatory. and administration Unlike the resistanceand civic-engagementroutesto participatory democracy just described, scholars in this camp do not see reinvigoratingassociationallife as the key to revitalizingdemocracyin participatory directions.Such revitalizaaffordthose associationsor their tion hinges as much on whetherstate structures constituentsa greatersharein the exercise of public power.Withoutpartakingin consequentialdecision making in this way, participationin associations can be



crampedandtrivialfrom the democraticpoint of view. From this perspective,roassociationsdo indeed affordparentsthe positive experience bust parent-teacher in activitiesthatsupportteachersin schools thatare frequentlyhiof participating erarchically governed.However,the experienceof school systems like Chicagowhere a coalitionof parentandcivic associationspressedreformsthatgave parents and communitymembersin each school the powerto hire and fireprincipals,dischanges--offers a much fuller pose of school budgets, and implementcurricular illustrationof how associationscan advanceparticipatory democraticgovernance (Fung 2001). Programsthatdevolve powers to associations(Hirst 1994), invite associations to sharein public power (Cohen & Rogers 1995), or open public decisions to citizens directly(Fung& Wright2001) all tie activecitizen participation closely to the can forge virtuous exercise of public power. Tying public power to participation connectionsbetween associativelife and the qualityof democraticgovernancein in andsupport associationsbecomes severalways. First,participation for particular to individualsbecause the stakes for them increase.Participation, more attractive for example,can become a routeto improvingone's schools, makingone's workplace safer,or securingthe timely and effective deliveryof services such as health or job training.Second, when the medium of public decision making becomes participation ratherthan money, status,or certifiedexpertise,weakervoices may of associations be more easily included and heard.Third,the directparticipation or citizens in policy making can introducelocal knowledge that improvesthe indemocracyhas always been, telligence of official actions. Finally, participatory at its core, a way to realize the ideal of self-government.When participation is limited to the voluntarysphere of associations, as it has been for resistanceand civic-engagementscholars, the reach of citizen participationis arbitrarily truncated to exclude those sites of public decision makingthat deeply affect ordinary individuals,and so is unacceptablylimited from the perspective of this second camp of participatory democrats. Regarding the democraticcontributions of associationsto democracydiscussed of Associations to Democracy,those moved by parabove in Six Contributions ticipatorydemocraticideals all recognize the centralimportanceof associations in inculcatingcivic dispositionsand developingpolitical skills in their members. Unlike the liberal minimalists and some representative democrats,most participatory democratsfavor associations that are internallydemocratic-they accept democratic the congruencethesis rejectedby Rosenblum (1998a). Participatory accounts also value the ways in which associations can foster deliberationboth internallyamong their own membersand in the public spheremore broadly.The civic-engagementand resistanceaccountsof associativedemocracyfocus on the representational and resistance contributionsof associations respectively.Both representation and resistance are alternativeways that robust secondaryassociations "projectpower into the public arena"(Wood 2001). Those in the second camp of participatory democracy-who propose simultaneous,intimate,and mutually reinforcingtransformations of state and civil society-focus upon the ways


FUNG in which associations can operate in direct governanceroles by sharingpublic power ratherthanprojectingit into the interestgrouparena.

The desirabilityof variousassociativecontributions to democracydependsdeeply politicalcontexts.Associativecontributions andformsthat on featuresof particular advancedemocracyin some contexts may be counterproductive or even inimical to those values in others. This observationis straightforward but not often noted in scholarlyattemptsto develop generalizedaccountsof the relationshipbetween democracyand associations.Beyond the contendingdemocraticideals discussed of political context introduceanother in the previoussection, then, considerations source of confusion and obstacle to generalizationregardingthe relationshipbetween associationsand democracy. MichaelFoley & RobertEdwards(1996, 1997) haveilluminated the importance "civil society elaboration of two the varietiesof of politicalcontextsharplyin their argument": The first version puts special emphasis on the ability of associationallife in to foster patternsof civility generaland the habitsof associationin particular in the actions of citizens in a democraticpolity... The second, articulated most forcefully... in formulatinga strategyfor resistanceto Poland's comon the processes munistregimein the 1980s, is also evidentin recentliterature of "redemocratization" in LatinAmerica.This argument... lays special emphasis on civil society as a sphere of action that is independentof the state and that is capable-precisely for this reason-of energizingresistanceto a tyrannicalregime. (Foley & Edwards1996, p. 39). In tyrannicalandunderdemocratized political contexts,then, the principalcontributionsof associationsto democracyare likely to involve resistanceto political authorityand a kind of autonomouspublic deliberation(Avritzer2002). In more fully democratizedcontexts, it is at least arguable-and many civic-engagement scholars have indeed argued-that the principalcontributionsof associations to democracy involve less conflict and more civic disposition and inclusive coopof Associations to Democracy, eration.As discussed above in Six Contributions very differentkindsof associationsarelikely to providethese differentdemocratic contributions. However,the polar cases of tyrannicalgovernmenton one end and more fully democraticstates on the other draw the distinctionstoo sharply.Those who examine associations and civil society from the perspective of social movements are quick to highlightthe inescapablefacts of deep inequalityand political exclusion even in more fully democraticcontexts such as the United States. There, as in societies undercommunistdictatorship or otherforms of authoritarianism, the resistance,mobilization,and power-projection contributions of associationshave



advanceddemocracyby expandingcitizenshipand reducingeconomic and social inequality. This observationhighlightsa rift between two kinds of associativedemocrats. On one side, some arguethattame associationsarethe ones best suitedto advancing democraticvalues. Civic-engagementscholarssuch as RobertPutnam(2000) and ThedaSkocpol (1999), whose accountsemphasizeassociationssuch as choral societies, sportsclubs, parent-teacher associations,and fraternalorders,reside in this camp. To be sure, many of these scholars, including both Skocpol and Putnam, count social movements among those associations that advanceimportant civic virtues(Putnam2000, pp. 154-161; Skocpol 1999). However,these analyses for the most partfail to acknowledgeand develop the distinctivedemocraticcontributions thatsuch associationsmay make-for examplevariouskinds of distrust andresourcesfor resistanceandeven rebellion--comparedto tamerandmorecivic of Cohen & Rogers associations.Despite otherdifferences,the recommendations propose politics that tames of mischiefs a faction-also reside (1995)-who the in this camp.They recommendinstitutional reformsthatwould allow associations cooperativelywith officials in policy makingand administration. to participate On the otherside arethose who arguethatthe best associativestrategiesto addressthe deep inequalitiesthatpervadeeven relativelydemocratic politicalcontextsfeature, just the kinds of protest,rebellion,and disruptionthatcanjeopperhapscentrally, ardize social peace, respectfor the rule of law, and generalizedreciprocity.These scholars(Foley& Edwards1996;MEWarren 2001; Wood2001; Szasz 1994, 1995) highlight the role of social movements in advancingdemocraticvalues through social conflict. This rift between those who favor tame as opposed to mischievous associations as agents of democracymay stem from differences in their assessments of political context. In tyrannicalcontexts, most observers agree that voluntary associations capable of resisting authorityare crucial to democraticadvance.In mature democracies like those of North America and WesternEurope, it may be that the proliferationof mischievous associations-social-movement organizations and other unruly groups-would indeed increase equality and inclusion but do so at too high a cost to social peace and civic sentiments. Whetherthe social andpolitical circumstancesof these contexts are sufficientlyexclusive and unequal to give democraticpriorityto the activities of disruptivecountervailing associationsis one pointon whichthese two campsmay disagree.The riftmay also stem from differences of political judgment. Like associationaldemocratsfrom social-movement traditions, Cohen& Rogersrecognizethatvery starkbackground inequalitiesandexclusions pervadeeven the maturedemocracies.Unlike theorists however,Cohen & Rogers arguethat a who focus upon resistanceorganizations, collaborative joint governancebetween official bodies and associations politics of holds greatpromise as a strategyfor addressingthe very inequalitiesthatjustify the activitiesof some mischievousassociationsas well. Thereareatleast threekindsof settlementsbetweentameandmischievousassociative democrats. The first settlement, which is implicit in most of the


FUNG is to simply disagree.Some scholarsadoptsome of the tools and terms literature, analyticalpriorityfor potentially of recentworkon associationswhile maintaining andwhile occasionassociationssuchas social-movement organizations disruptive to power and conflict. ally chiding civic-engagementscholarsfor theirinattention Others,and they remainthe centraltendency,continueto focus upon the general contributionsof relativelybenign associations in fosteringtrust,reciprocity,and civic virtue while remaininginattentiveto political conflict. The second settlement is an inclusive pluralismthat acknowledgesimportantroles for both tame andmischievousorganizations-for the simultaneous of socialization, importance and deliberation-in contemporary democracies (ME resistance,representation, Warren2001). The obvious truth of this view makes it attractive.Any healthy democracy will feature a mixed ecology of different sorts of associations, and Warrenoffers helpful guidance about what that mix might be. Yet a third settlement,visible in the recentworkof social-movementscholarssuch as RobertWood (2001) and MarkR. Warren(2001b), recognizes that some of the most inventive social-movementorganizationsdevelop strategiesthat combine both cooperation and mischief. The mix thatbest advancesdemocraticvalues such as participation, and effective administration dependsdeeply deliberation,political accountability, on the details of particular contexts within maturedemocracies.The association thatbest pressesthese values in urbanareas,for example,may requirethe strength to protestlocal autocrats even as it retainsthe flexibilityto cooperatewith officials who are disposed to fair engagement.

CONCLUSION Warren(ME Warren2001) and Rosenblum (1998a) are surely correct in their argumentsthat it is difficult and unwise to draw straightforward generalizations connections between associations and democraticgovernance. Conabout the ceptual, normative,and empiricalconsiderationsintertwineto renderattemptsat generalizationeven more difficult than those critics suggest. Conceptually and empirically,observers agree that associations renderimportantcontributionsto democracy,includingthe intrinsicpleasuresof association,civic socialization,political education,resistance,representation, deliberation,and direct governance. The diversity of these contributionsmakes generalizationdifficult, not least because the kinds of association that best make one contributionmay be inimical variationsin political contexts can alter the priority to the others. Furthermore, of particularassociative contributionsto democracy.In tyrannicalcontexts, for example, resistancemay be far more urgentthanthe developmentof civic virtues such as tolerationand respectfor the rule of law. to democracyfreNormatively,those who contendthatassociationscontribute of individual quently hold contesting visions what sorts of practices and instidemocracy. constitute a vibrant In much of the existing tutional arrangements this confusion stems in partfrom the failureto make these background literature, democraticideals explicit. Civic engagementand associations have appealedto



both representativeand participatorydemocrats.Indeed, I suspect that part of the attractiveness of this set of ideas relies upon blurringthe distinctionbetween Nevertheless,importantdifferencesin the representation and directparticipation. accountof the sortsof associationsandthe relationships between associationsand the statethatadvancedemocracyhinge on what sortsof governancearrangements one considers to be democratic.Suppressingdifferencesin ideals of democracy may momentarilybroadenthe appeal of some account about the connectionbetween associationsand democracy,but ultimatelyit increasesconfusion. Making these differencesexplicitfurther complicatesthe conceptualambitionto generalize aboutthe relationshipsbetween associationsand democracy. The diversityof approachesand tensions surveyedabove testifies to the strides thatscholarshavemadeoverthepastdecadein understanding the multiplerelationships between associations and democracy.Continuedprogresswill likely result from open-mindedcross-fertilization between very different,sometimescontendwho ing, approaches. of associations Those focus uponthe resistancecontributions can gain insight from those who focus upon more squarelycivic effects. Those who havethusfartakenpoliticalformsas fixed in orderto focus uponcivil society can learnfrom those who propose simultaneoustransformations of the state and associationalspheres.Thisprogresswill not only increaseourunderstanding of the variedways thatassociationsadvancedemocraticvalues, but also provideinsights into associationaland institutional reformstrategiesthat acceleratethat advance. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS RobertPutnam,MarkE. Warren, I am gratefulto PatrickHeller,SanjeevKhagram, and the editorsat the AnnualReviewof Sociology for theirgenerouscommentson a previousdraftof this article. The AnnualReviewof Sociologyis online at LITERATURE CITED
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