State-society partnerships in the Japanese weifare state

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12 Scopus citations


For Alexis de Tocqueville (1988: 515-16), “The morals and intelligence of a democratic people would be in as much danger as its commerce and industry if ever a government wholly usurped the place of private associations. It is therefore necessary that [government] should not act alone.” Was he right? Japan provides an important perspective on this question. This chapter argues that intermediate associations can play roles that neither Tocqueville nor contemporary Tocquevilleans have recognized. If Tocqueville emphasized intermediate associations' roles as an external check on government and as a means of civic education, contemporary Tocquevilleans seem more interested in the effect of associations on what Tocqueville called democratic mores. They attribute a good economy, public health, effective governance, and democracy to the aggregate psychological State of a Community. In particular, they value associations because they are thought to promote social capital (e.g., Putnam et al. 1993; Fukuyama 1995; Putnam 1995, 2000; Brehm and Rahn 1997). Associations, whether formal or informal, presumably help Citizens connect to and trust their fellow Citizens. This kind of trust, Robert Putnam (Putnam et al. 1993; Putnam 2000) asserts, can improve both governmental effectiveness and the quality of democracy. Trust between Citizens and government officials, so the argument goes, makes government more effective by making it more responsive (Putnam et al. 1993; Pharr and Putnam 2000). Putnam (2000: chap. 21) also Claims that associations serve as a locus for deliberative democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe State of Civil Society in Japan
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780511550195
ISBN (Print)9780521827300
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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