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The Perverse Manifestation of Civil Society: Evidence from Nigeria

Augustine Ikelegbe
The Journal of Modern African Studies
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Mar., 2001), pp. 1-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3557288
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Perverse Manifestation of Civil Society: Evidence from Nigeria
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Abstract

Civil society has been a central force in political and economic reforms. The activities and even proliferation of civil groups have been seen by several authors as vital to the democratisation project and its sustenance. Only a few scholars have pointed to the roles that civil groups may play in undermining democracy and national stability. In Nigeria, civil society was in the vanguard of the democratic struggle, but recent events are pointing to the negative roles played by some civil groups in the construction of platforms for ethnic militancy and violent confrontation with other groups and the state. Based on evidence from three cases of civil groups, the paper identifies goals, methods, strategies and tendencies that indicate intense primordialism, militancy and violence. The study finds that in plural societies, civil society may become so parochial, divisive, divergent and disarticulative that it actually undermines democracy.

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