International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

Civil Society and Social Capital in Southeast Asia

  • Meredith Weiss
Reference work entry


Southeast Asian regimes run the gamut from liberal and illiberal democracy to military authoritarianism and absolute monarchy. As such, generalizations regarding civil society and the generation of social capital in the region are impossible. Still, all states in the region leave at least some space for civil society (including informal opposition) and even formal opposition. These civil societies are neither homogeneous nor static. Moreover, it is not necessarily the institutionally strongest democracies that provide the broadest space for generation of social capital or collective action within civil society, though the opportunities and constraints facing citizens under a particular regime may favor or discourage particular modes of association and mobilization.

While attention to civil society and social capital has increased in the region since the 1980s, these are not new phenomena. By the 1920s, at least, substantial and vibrant associational life characterized much...

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References/Further Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meredith Weiss
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity at Albany (SUNY)AlbanyUSA