Ecuador: The processes and mechanisms of governmental control over civil society

Posted on August 3, 2015 • Filed under: Ecuador, Politics

Andrés Ortiz Lemos
Taking Control of the Public Sphere by Manipulating Civil Society: The Citizen Revolution in Ecuador

By taking advantage of the core discourses of the main social movements, Rafael Correa Delgado was elected president of Ecuador in 2006. Promising a ‘citizen revolution’, the President designed and engaged heavy institutional machinery that disciplined the civil society and other elements of the embryonic Ecuadorian public sphere. Paradoxically, he did so under the pretext of establishing a participatory democracy. This paper examines the processes and mechanisms of governmental control over civil society, the strongest element of the Ecuadorian public sphere, and their consequences for social movements.
participatory democracy, public sphere, lifeworld, Ecuador, Citizen Revolution, social
movements, Rafael Correa.


Disciplining civil opinion
Independent civil society and a relatively autonomous media have the potential to generate ‘public opinion’. On the other hand, the simple manufacturing of representation (based on annexation rath
er than argumentation) resulted in ‘no public opinion’ (Habermas, 1991, p. 178). So one of the threats to critical civil society is an environment saturated with ‘no public opinion’.Ecuador had a relatively important tradition of investigative journalism, which (together with an autonomous civ
il society) is one of the central elements for social accountability (Peruzzotti & Smulovitz, 2001). This tradition allowed journalists to denounce irregular acts from the return to democracy up
to the present. While it is true that the Ecuadorian media was not free of criticism concerning its autonomy (Jiménez, 2006; CIESPAL-PIDC-UNESCO,2011), in general, prior to Correa, there was not an official mechanism to censor it. READ FULL PAPER

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