The Civil Society Workshop will meet on Wednesday, November 8, at 12.30 for a discussion with
Prof. Heath Brown
“Civil Society against the State: Mobilizing to Undermine Institutions”
Abstract: Civil society is often thought of as working as a partner with government to build state institutions, even when critical of the status quo and sitting public officials. Less attention has been drawn to civil society organizations that work to undermine the state through what I call “parallel politics”. Over the last 30 years in the United States, a conservative movement based on a strongly anti-institutional ideology has sought to overturn the post World War 2 Liberal Consensus. In this paper, I focus on one part of this movement, the Homeschool Movement, which has enabled parents to educate in their homes, in the near term, but has worked in tandem with a largely conservative, libertarian, and Christian conservative project to undermine public institutions, in the long term. Homeschooling policies passed in the 1980s triggered the creation of a vast array of civil society organizations that permitted families to operate in a parallel educational system as well as to lobby for fewer and fewer government restrictions on home-based education. These organizations, many run by women, have established a powerful grassroots foundation onto which later anti-institutional movements, such as the Tea Party, were constructed.
We will meet in room 5401 (Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society)