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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The traditional subjects of civil society, which have been active for a long period of time, are losing their former influence and importance. Researchers point out a decrease in the population’s civil engagement in many countries of the world. The existing concepts of civil society are losing their explanatory power. This article presents an attempt to resolve the issue in question. The purpose of this article is to analyze the social community of parents as a new subject of civil society. In order to achieve this goal, civil society is examined from a community approach standpoint, according to which it is interpreted as a special form of social community. Its specific nature is conditioned by the fact that such a community consists of individuals (and their associations) which support distinct needs, interests and value orientations. It is shown that individuals (and their associations), when possessing the necessary resources (mainly social capital), engage in cooperative actions to fulfill and protect their needs and interests within certain boundaries of time and space. The article stresses the fact that such activity turns into a dominant model of living, in other words – a lifestyle for members of a civil society community. Analyzed are the key characteristics, functions and the structure of civil society as a social community, together with the creation and development of a parent community within it as a new element of the former. This serves as a foundation for demonstrating that the modern parent community is evolving. While preserving its traditional community features and functions, the social community of parents is acquiring more traits and functions inherent to a civil society community, transforming into a special type of the latter. The gradual process of integrating the parent social community into the community structure of civil society is shown. Also highlighted is the fact that this process is occurring with varying intensity in time and space, as a result of the non-uniformity and inconsistency of the parent community itself. The objective disparity between parents affects their degree of involvement in practices of civil society, as well as the nature of interactions within and between communities. The article suggests regarding the interior structure of the parent community as dynamic, consisting of a core, semi-periphery and periphery. The conclusion states that in modern conditions the parent community turns into what drives the development of civil society.
civil society, community approach, parenthood, power characteristics, community structure of civil society, community interactions
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