When Strangers Become Family
The Role of Civil Society in Addressing the Needs of Aging Populations
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As the 21st Century unfolds, the traditional welfare state that evolved during the 20th Century faces serious threats to the solidarity that social programs were meant to strengthen. The rise of populist and nationalist parties reflects the decline of a sense of belonging and inclusiveness that mass education and economic progress were meant to foster, as traditional politics and parties are rejected by working- and middle-class individuals who were previously their staunchest supporters. Increasingly, these groups reject the growing gaps in income, power, and privilege that they perceive between themselves and highly educated and cosmopolitan business, academic, and political elites.
When Strangers Become Family examines the potential role of civil society organizations in guaranteeing the rights and addressing the needs of vulnerable groups, paying particular attention to their role in advocacy for and service delivery to the elderly. The book includes a discussion of the origins and functions of this sector that focuses on the relationship between the state and non-governmental organizations, as well as a close examination of Mexico – a middle-income nation with a rapidly aging population and limited state welfare for the elderly. The data reveals important aspects of the relationship among government actors, civil society organizations, and political parties. Ronald Angel and Verónica Montes-de-Oca Zavala ask the fundamental question about the extent to which civil society organizations represent a potential mechanism whereby vulnerable individuals can join together to further their own interests and exercise their individual and group autonomy.
Table of Contents
1. Struggling Collectively for Truth and Justice
2. Defamilisation and the Welfare State
3. Elder Rights in the Context of the New Human Rights Discourse
4. Active Aging and Citizenship
5. The Political and Legal Contexts of Eldercare in Mexico
6. Labor Unions and the Struggle for Political Power
7. Improving the Quality of Life
8. The Expanding Human Rights Agenda
9. Illiberal Democracy and the Future of Civil Society
Ronald J. Angel is Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin and coauthor, along with Jacqueline L. Angel, of Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society and Latinos in an Aging World.
Verónica Montes de Oca Zavala is Professor of Sociology and Demography at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She is the author of Envejecimiento en América Latina y el Caribe. UNAM y Oxford Institute of Ageing Population.