The State and Civil Society: Regulating Interest Groups, Parties, and Public Benefit Organizations in Contemporary Democracies

ISBN : 9780198758587

Nicole Bolleyer
384 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Nov 2018
Send mail

State regulation of civil society is expanding yet widely contested, often portrayed as illegitimate intrusion. Despite ongoing debates about the nature of state-voluntary relations in various disciplines, we know surprisingly little about why long-lived democracies adopt more or less constraining legal approaches in this sphere, in which state intervention is generally considered contentious.

Drawing on insights from political science, sociology, comparative law as well as public administration research, this book addresses this important question, conceptually, theoretically, and empirically. It addresses the conceptual and methodological challenges related to developing systematic, comparative insights into the nature of complex legal environments affecting voluntary membership organizations, when simultaneously covering a wide range of democracies and the regulation applicable to different types of voluntary organizations. Proposing the analytical tools to tackle those challenges, it studies in-depth the intertwining and overlapping legal environments of political parties, interest groups, and public benefit organizations across 19 long-lived democracies. After presenting an innovative interdisciplinary theoretical framework theorizing democratic states' legal disposition towards, or their disinclination against, regulating voluntary membership organizations in a constraining or permissive fashion, this framework is empirically tested. Applying Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), the comparative analysis identifies three main 'paths' accounting for the relative constraints in the legal environments democracies have created for organized civil society, defined by different configurations of political systems' democratic history, their legal family, and voluntary sector traditions. Providing the foundation for a mixed-methods design, three ideal-typical representatives of each path - Sweden, the UK, and France - are selected for the in-depth study of these legal environments' long-term evolution, to capture reform dynamics and their drivers that have shaped group and party regulation over many decades.


PART I Why and How to Study Legal Regulation of Organized Civil Society Comparatively
1 The Legal Regulation of Organized Civil Society: A Comparative Study
2 Studying Legal Regulation of Organized Civil Society Cross-Nationally: Analytical Tools and Empirical Strategy
PART II How Parties, Interest Groups and Public Benefit Organizations Are Regulated
3 The Legal Regulation of Political Parties in Long-Lived Democracies
4 The Regulation of Interest Groups and Public Benefit Organizations in Long-lived Democracies: Formation and Dissolution
5 The Regulation of Interest Groups and Public Benefit Organizations: The Operation Stage - Constitutive Function and Resources
PART IV How Democracies Regulate Organized Civil Society - The Importance of Legal Dispositions
6 The Diversity of Legal Environments for Organized Civil Society in Long-lived Democracies: A Theoretical Framework
7 The Legal Environments of Organized Civil Society in 19 Democracies: A Cross-National Analysis
PART IV The Long-Term Evolution of Legal Frameworks for Organized Civil Society
8 The Voluntarist Path towards a Permissive Legal Environment for Organized Civil Society: Sweden
9 The Functionalist Path towards a Constraining Legal Environment for Organized Civil Society: UK
10 The Statist Path towards a Constraining Legal Environment for Organized Civil Society: France
11 Conclusions

About the author: 

Nicole Bolleyer is a Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Exeter. Her publications include New Parties in Old Party Systems: Persistence and Decline in 17 Democracies (OUP, 2013) and Intergovernmental Cooperation: Rational Choices in Federal Systems and Beyond (OUP, 2009), and she has published in numerous journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Governance, Political Studies, Party Politics, and the European Political Science Review.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.