Theories and Issues II
This lecture will continue to discuss the modern and classical definitions of civil society and the changing relationship between state and society as discussed in: Alejandro Colas, Global civil society: Analytical category or normative concept?, in: Chandler, David G., and Gideon Baker. 2005. Global civil society: Contested futures. London: Routledge, Chapter 1, pp. 17-33.
The lecture discusses among others the following the theoretical concepts:
I. Definitions of Civil Society
The LSE Center of Civil Society which publishes the Global Civil Society Yearbook have developed a widely used definition of global civil society:
” Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated. Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power.
Civil societies are often populated by organizations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organizations, community groups, women’s organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, trades unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy groups.”
The lecture explains the relationship between the development of global civil society, and the development of transnational corporations, International Government Organizations, and the Globalization of Trade Unions. It discusses the sometimes cooperative, sometimes confrontational relationships between these actors.
II. Criticism of liberal definition of civil society:
GCS: “‘[a]n unfinished project that consists of… actors who organize themselves across borders, with the deliberate aim of drawing the world together in a new way‘”
based on: plurality, difference, freedom and individual rights.
GSC: “society without geographical borders – it is global in reach”
” practice involving the recognition of democratic rights for oneself and others on a global plane, chiefly through non-violent, dialogic means.”
What do these definitions have in common?
‘Global civil society … is about “civilizing” or democratizing globalization, about the process through which groups, movements and individuals can demand a global rule of law, global justice and global empowerment‘ (Kaldor, 2003: 12).
Colas thinks that all these definitions are potentially misleading and that there are more diverse traditions of GSC is… NOT opposed to state structure “process of creative destruction involving both the transgression of existing borders and their re-legitimization” through political protest”.
“We should think of global civil society not as a project to be realized, but rather as a socio-political space where democrats have over the past three centuries competed and conflicted with their adversaries” (p. 32)
And interesting aspect of this article is that Colas argues that the history and theoretical foundation of civil society usually starts in the “West” or the “North” and often as a kind of emancipation of citizens against the state or government, however, we can also find aspects of “civil society” in other parts of the world (the example here is Maghreb) where despots used the post-colonial system to undermine society and use civil society means to their own mostly advantage, often to stabilize their non-democratic regimes.
Alejandro Colas, Global civil society: Analytical category or normative concept?, in: Chandler, David G., and Gideon Baker. 2005. Global civil society: Contested futures. London: Routledge, Chapter 1, pp. 17-33 [Moodle]
Kimberly Hutchings, Global civil society: Thinking politics and progress, in: Chandler, David G., and Gideon Baker. 2005. Global civil society: Contested futures. London: Routledge, Chapter 8, pp. 130-148 [Moodle]
Instructor: VOSSE‚ Wilhelm M. | Language of Instruction: J
Major: Global Studies グローバル研究 | Course ID: GLS201 | Course Schedule: 2/M, 2/W, 2/F | Update: 2013.04.01 Category: Major Courses