good civicness vs. bad civicness

from Civic Engagement and Corruption in 20 European Democracies: Separating the Bright from the Dark Side? [pdf] i learn that there is GOOD (inclusive) civicness and there is BAD (exclusive) civicness [pg. 65]:

“The idea underlying the inclusive/exclusive networks distinction then is that groups focusing on individual-oriented goods such as personal materials, status or group identity goods are more likely to generate exclusiveness.”

the problem is that studies have shown that, while the inclusive networks are associated with lower corruption in any given society, “involvement with the latter [exclusive networks] actually shows the reverse tendency” [pg. 73].

oh dear.

inclusive civicness networks include: sport / outdoor hobby groups; cultural organizations; humanitarian organizations / charities; environmental groups; church / religious organizations; political parties; and science / education / youth groups.

exclusive civicness networks include: trade unions; business / professional / farmer organizations; consumer / auto groups; and social clubs / young / elderly / women.

i like to think of them as group-oriented vs. more personally-oriented groups (see what i mean?).

looking back on a previous post on civicness patterns around the world, we see that this does seem to fit:

– the anglo world, which is known for being not-sooo-corrupt, has relatively low participation rates in labor unions (10.1%) — exclusive civicness networks — compared to very high participation rates in inclusive civicness networks like humanitarian organizations/charities (19.8%) or sports groups (28.5%);

– meanwhile, eastern europe, which is known for being pretty-durned-corrupt, has relatively high participation rates in labor unions (5.1%) compared to low participation rates in humanitarian organizations/charities (2.7%) or sports groups (7.1%) (kinda);

– same holds true for india — relatively high participation rates in labor unions (15.7%) versus comparatively lower participation rates in humanitarian organizations/charities (10.8%) or sports groups (15.9%) — and also pretty corrupt.

and looking at civicness amongst the races in the u.s.:

– whites have a relatively low participation rates in labor unions (7%), with pretty high participation rates in humanitarian organizations/charities (16.5%) and sports groups (17.1%).

– both blacks and hispanics have relatively high participation rates in labor unions (10.3% and 8.6% respectively), with comparatively low participation rates in humanitarian organizations/charities (11.7% and 6.8%) and sports groups (14.9% [kinda] and 8.6%).

this pattern is definitely something i’ll be keeping a look out for in future posts on civicness!

see also: “Applying the concepts of bonding and bridging social capital to empirical research” by sonja zmerli, 2003, european political science 2(3).

previously: civic societies and civic societies ii

(note: comments do not require an email. GBoF!)

10 Comments

  1. I can’t read PDFs on this computer, so maybe this is explained in the paper, but is there a definition for inclusivity vs. exclusivity separate from how they correlate? It seems to me that churches, political parties, and cultural organizations have a focus on group identity… is the difference that they’re not focused on material goods, as opposed to labor unions and consumer groups? And what’s the difference between youth groups (inclusive) and “social clubs / young” (exclusive)?

    As for explaining the data (I know I should hold off until after I fully understand the typology, but I can’t resist): it looks like classical liberalism is really good at preventing corruption, as is to be expected from a belief-system holding to an atomistic conception of normative human action. (It is, after all, the system that produced utilitarianism, wherein one’s personal connections or affinities to others hold zero moral weight!) Classical liberalism doesn’t particularly like unions or demographically-based affinity groups, but it’s usually okay with things like churches.

    And more questions: Does involvement in one type of inclusive group correlate with involvement in other types of inclusive groups? Does involvement in one type of exclusive group correlate with involvement in other types of exclusive groups? If so, are there any inclusive groups that look exclusive wrt these correlations, or vice versa?

    Reply

  2. ” meanwhile, eastern europe, which is known for being pretty-durned-corrupt, has relatively high participation rates in labor unions (5.1%)” Is this 5.1% figure the correct one? It seems low, if anything.

    Reply

  3. I also wonder about the clarity of their distinction. I see your contrast, but I think there is too much slippage around the edges of why people join both groups for anything to be cleanly measured. Each of the inclusive groups could be joined for reasons of exclusivity, and vice versa.

    I think the general idea is probably correct. Participation, especially with time and effort as well as money, creates a virtuous cycle. When we were volunteering in Romania in the late 90’s, early 00’s, it was very hard to get Romanians to continue with unpaid community-building stuff once the Americans had left. They weren’t far behind Western Europeans, however. The head of the clinic and orphanage eventually stopped bothering to set up speaking engagements in Europe. “Only Americans and Canadians ever come and volunteer. Western Europeans only wanted to talk political solutions – about how much better it would be for us once we joined the EU.”

    Reply

  4. @redzen – “Is this 5.1% figure the correct one? It seems low, if anything.”

    yes, it’s correct, and yes it is low compared to anglo societies. but in this instance, the point is not to compare the groups with one another directly, but to look at which numbers are higher or lower within each of the populations. so, 5.1% is “high” for eastern europeans compared to the 2.7% membership in humanitarian organizations or the 1.1% in environmental organizations (didn’t fit so well with the 7.1% in sports, though — can’t have everything i guess (~_^) ).

    Reply

  5. @nydwracu – sorry for the tardy response here. i was a bit brain dead yesterday evening (bad cold), and was worried that any attempted reply would make no sense whatsoever. (~_^)

    “is there a definition for inclusivity vs. exclusivity separate from how they correlate?”

    here’s (what i think is) the key paragraph from the paper defining inclusive vs. exclusive associations [pgs. 5-6]:

    “The distinction between inclusive and exclusive social capital intends to capture the difference between networks or organizations that are inward-oriented (i.e. focused predominantly on members’ personal interests), and those with a broader, societal focus (Knack and Keefer 1997; Zmerli 2003). The idea – in part inspired by the distinction between strong and weak ties put forward by Granovetter (1973, 1983) – is that the former networks enforce exclusive group identities (Warren 2001) and build strong in-group cohesion, but are less integrated into the broader community and thereby contain the risk of negative externalities and strong out-group antagonisms (Zmerli 2003; Freitag et al. 2009). Strong ingroup orientation, specific reciprocity as well as the exclusion of outsiders may indeed lead members to develop feelings of obligation to favour and support people from the same group, which may support corruptive practices (Harris 2007). Fukuyama (2000, p. 8) even sees such narrow radius of trust as a ‘cultural foundation for corruption’. Societies can thus ‘be rich in social capital within social groups, and yet experience debilitating poverty, corruption and conflict’ (Narayan 1999, p. 8, italics added). Inclusive networks, on the other hand, have an outward-orientation (Zmerli 2003), which has been argued to make them more likely to generate civic virtues, ‘broader identities and reciprocity’ (Putnam 2000, p. 22n; Freitag et al. 2009). Hence, inclusive associations should be more likely to generate public-spiritedness and interest in the common good, which have been argued to reduce corruption.”

    Reply

  6. @nydwracu – “And what’s the difference between youth groups (inclusive) and ‘social clubs / young’ (exclusive)?”

    i think that an example of an inclusive youth group would be something like the boys club of america or maybe the boy/girl scouts. i can’t think of an example of an exclusive youth social club, but the gentlemen’s clubs of england must surely be a great example of exclusive social clubs.

    @nydwracu – “it looks like classical liberalism is really good at preventing corruption, as is to be expected from a belief-system holding to an atomistic conception of normative human action.”

    absolutely! of course, i want to take it back (down?) one step further and say that it’s the underlying biology — the degree of outbrededness — of a population that then (may) give rise to some of that classic liberalism which, in turn, yada, yada, yada…. (^_^)

    Reply

  7. @nydwracu – “Does involvement in one type of inclusive group correlate with involvement in other types of inclusive groups? Does involvement in one type of exclusive group correlate with involvement in other types of exclusive groups? If so, are there any inclusive groups that look exclusive wrt these correlations, or vice versa?”

    those are really good questions! — which these authors haven’t addressed, unfortunately. =/ could be that some social scientist out there somewhere has — if i come across the answers to those questions, i’ll post ’em, ’cause all of that would definitely be interesting to know!

    Reply

  8. @avi – “Each of the inclusive groups could be joined for reasons of exclusivity, and vice versa.”

    not really. not according to the authors’ definitions of these groups (which i should’ve included in the original post!).

    i do question the membership in a church/religious organization as always being inclusive. might depend on the church/religious org., know what i mean? these guys looked at european populations, so probably largely christian — and, therefore, pretty inclusive — churches. at least the mainstream ones.

    @avi – “They weren’t far behind Western Europeans, however. The head of the clinic and orphanage eventually stopped bothering to set up speaking engagements in Europe. ‘Only Americans and Canadians ever come and volunteer. Western Europeans only wanted to talk political solutions – about how much better it would be for us once we joined the EU.'”

    well, that jibes with what i found looking at the world values survey for active membership in various voluntary organizations — both the french and the germans — and very much the italians — typically scored lower across the board than the anglo world.

    (oh — and like i said to nydwracu — sorry for the delay in this response!)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s