We will identify the variables that enable dominant elites to subvert democratic processes in weak states, and the complex challenges confronting different types of civic organisations - NGOs, business associations and armed groups - in doing so in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Uganda.
This panel will contribute to the debate about contested or subverted democratic transitions by examining the difficulties confronted by marginalised or excluded groups in creating and managing the representative organisations they need to play an effective role in public politics. We begin with a theoretical paper that presents an analysis of the major challenges to democratisation and how they may be overcome. We then explore these issues by analysing the rise and fall of radical politicised NGOs in Bangladesh; a state-sponsored taxi drivers association in Uganda, and a armed minority group in Indonesia, three countries with contrasting state structures and political histories. We will focus on both the internal power structures, (perverse) incentives and (non) accountability mechanisms that influence and often subvert their relationships with their supporters, and the extent to which and ways in which their relationships with the dominant elites that control the state strengthen or undermine their ability to exercise their political rights. These papers contribute to the important theoretical and policy debates on the political role of civic organisations and their contribution to democratisation.