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Global civil society in an uncertain world

Landmark Yearbook - Global Civil Society 2004/5 - launched at LSE, 5 October 2004

The war in Iraq brought global politics into the living rooms of ordinary people around the world in 2003-4. This defining event, which influenced the domestic agenda in many countries, is changing the way people perceive power and the politics of power.

Global Civil Society 2004/5, the landmark annual publication on the topic, highlights the significance of global civil society in the current context of global insecurity and growing cleavages - and not only between North and South, the West and Islam, or the US and 'the rest.'

LSE's professor Mary Kaldor, one of the Yearbook's editors-in-chief, argues that the Green and Red Zones of divided Iraq are metaphors for the gulf that exists on a global scale between the global 'green zones', populated by political elites, and the global 'red zone', a heterogeneous, complex world full of energy, activity, ideas and debate but also violence, frustration and extremism.

During 2003-4 global civil society played an important role, as Kaldor points out:

  • Global civil society can be understood as a mechanism for crossing the divide between the red and green zone. It consists of various channels - groups, movements, organisations - through which people living in the red zone try to influence elites in the green zone.

In this way, global civil society can be seen as the mobilisation of global public opinion:

  • What is happening, in our view, is not a reversal of globalisation but a recasting of sovereignty and democracy in a global context. Globalisation does not mean the end of the state.....what it means is the transformation of the state, the emergence of a new kind of global politics in which the state is one actor among many...

Global Civil Society 2004/5 embraces this 'new kind of global politics' in ten provocative chapters:

  • Editor of Red Pepper, Hilary Wainwright, identifies the conditions in which global civil society can reinvigorate local democracy with examples from China, Brazil and Guatemala
  • Journalist Mohamed El Said-Sayed explores global civil society from a Middle Eastern perspective, arguing that the rise of the anti-war movement was pivotal in preventing the triumph of the 'clash of civilisations' and 'crusade' theories in Arab minds
  • LSE's Yahia Said explores oil and activism, highlighting the key actors and organisations, how they have been influenced and in turn how their campaigns have influenced the politics of oil
  • Cairo University lecturer Heba Raouf Ezzat outlines a new multicultural approach to global civil society that incorporates religious and secular perspectives
  • UCLA professor Helmut Anheier and LSE researcher Siobhan Daly explore the growing global role of philanthropic institutions - and how the 'war on terror' is changing the rules about global giving
  • The anti-argument: American law professor Kenneth Anderson and journalist David Rieff question global civil society's claim to represent world opinion. They argue that the hotchpotch of environmental groups, feminist networks and human rights activists who call themselves 'global civil society', are no more than 'a collection of undemocratic and unaccountable 'social movement missionaries.'

Now in its fourth year of publication, the Global Civil Society Yearbook is an indispensable tool, essential reading for social and political scientists, activists, students, journalists and policy makers.

Praise for the Global Civil Society series

'One of the great unreported events of the last decade has been the total explosion of non-government organizations in developing countries of the world. While I was shaving the other day, I looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow, I am an NGO!" I have always been interested in this, but I am more interested since I discovered I was one. And that's why I'd recommend this Yearbook.'
Bill Clinton

'Global Civil Society 2002 was a gripping read. Global Civil Society 2003 was stimulating, informative and authoritative. I am delighted to recommend this series, which fills an important gap in research on globalisation.'
Anthony Giddens

Ends

For a review copy or more information about the Yearbook please contact Fiona Holland, managing editor, 020 7955 7434 or email f.c.Holland@lse.ac.uk| 

Notes:

Debate to mark the launch

Global Civil Society 2004/5 will be launched at LSE on Tuesday 5 October with a panel debate Global Civil Society: Reshaping politics in an uncertain world is on Tuesday 5 October, 6.30pm, the Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE. This debate is free and open to all with no ticket required. 

Speakers include:

  • Professor Kenneth Anderson, based at the Washington College of Law, American University and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University.
  • Professor Lord Giddens, director of LSE from 1997 to 2003 and emeritus professor of sociology at LSE
  • Professor Mary Kaldor, director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at LSE
  • Dr Heba Raouf Ezzat, coordinator of the Civil Society Program at the Center for Political Research and Studies at Cairo University

To request a press seat at the debate please contact Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7060 or email j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk| 

For a review copy or more information about the Yearbook please contact Fiona Holland, managing editor, 020 7955 7434 or email f.c.Holland@lse.ac.uk| 

Global Civil Society 2004/5 is a collaboration between the Centre for the study of Global Governance and Centre for Civil Society at the London School of Economics, and the Center for Civil Society at University of California, Los Angeles

Global Civil Society 2004/5 is available from leading bookshops and direct from Sage priced £19.95.

1 October 2004

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