DV429 Half Unit
Global Civil Society
This information is for the 2012/13 session.
Dr Sabine Selchow
Other teachers: Professor Mary Kaldor
Core course for the Global Civil Society stream of MSc Global Politics. Optional for MSc Anthropology and Development, MSc Anthropology and Development Management, MSc Development Management, MSc Development Studies, MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc Human Rights, MSc Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc Health, Community and Development, general MSc Global Politics and, depending on the available space, open to students from other departments in the School.
Civil society has come to be considered as an essential component in contemporary global politics, taken either as a normative concept linked to the idea of democracy or as a descriptive concept referring to the activism of NGOs, social movements, and global advocacy networks. This course provides students with the conceptual and empirical background that allows them to critically engage with the complex debate over global civil society and to assess the potential and the challenges of civil society activism in the context of our increasingly globalising world. The course engages with both, the normative as well as the empirical side of the issue.
Against the backdrop of the increasing complexity of the political challenges that are linked to global integration, we will explore the history of the concept of civil society and discuss the hopes, tasks and potentials that are currently ascribed to it. The course covers the characteristics, repertoires and impacts of key global civil society actors, such as NGOs, social movements, nationalist groups, religious movements and global advocacy networks. It explores the role of media in contemporary global activism, critically discusses issues such as political consumerism and internet activism, and debates the dichotomy of idealism and professionalisation in contemporary politics. Two of the conceptual foci, which will guide our debates, are the issue of the increasing privatization of global politics and the complex set of problems surrounding global civil society and democracy. Hence, key concepts such as public-private-partnerships, representation, legitimacy, accountability, and transparency will be critically discussed.
Our readings cover key texts on globalisation, global politics & development, NGOs, social movements and advocacy networks.
The course is taught in Lent Term and will consist of 10 lectures and 9 classes which will be student-led.
One non-assessed essay (not more than 1,200 words) during term and at least one presentation.
A detailed reading list will be presented at the beginning of the term. A basic introductory text is: Kaldor, Mary (2003) Global Civil Society: An Answer to War Cambridge: Polity Press.
The course will be assessed by one 3-5,000-word-essay (40%) due on the first day of Summer Term. The assessed essay can be an extension of the non-assessed one. A two-hour unseen examination in Summer Term (60%).