Civil Society Under Threat: COVID-19, authoritarianism and more

Hosted by the Department of International Development

Online public event


Dr Sergej Ljubownikow

Dr Sergej Ljubownikow

Nicola Macbean

Nicola Macbean

Dr Mariz Tadros

Dr Mariz Tadros


Professor Jude Howell

Professor Jude Howell

Since the launch of the global War on Terror, civil society has come under persistent threat. New laws restricting the spaces and activities of civil society have been passed across the world. The rise of populist regimes, increasing authoritarian tendencies and COVID-19 have further tightened controls over civil society. What does this mean for the future of a progressive civil society?

Sergej Ljubownikow (@SLjubownikow) is a lecturer at Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, UK. His research focuses on civil society, the third sector, and the strategies and activities of nonprofit and nongovernmental organisations as well as social businesses/enterprises. 

Nicola Macbean (@NMacbean) is the founding director of The Rights Practice, a UK charity which supports those working for human rights and whose work focuses on China. Nicola is the former Director of the Great Britain-China Centre and has acted as a consultant to DFID and the UN OHCHR. She has studied social anthropology, human rights law and Chinese. 

Mariz Tadros is Professor of Politics and Development at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She is the Director of CREID, the Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID), a DFID-funded programme which endeavours to integrate freedom of religion or development in international development.

Jude Howell has written extensively on civil society and international development. She was Director of the ESRC Research Programme on Non-Governmental Public Action and former Director of the Centre for Civil Society at the LSE (2003-2010). She has written extensively on issues relating to civil society, development, security, labour and governance, and on China in particular. Her recent ESRC-funded research is on civil society and services contracting in China. Recent publications include Shades of Authoritarianism and State-Labour Relations in China (British Journal of Industrial Relations 2019) and NGOs and Accountability in China: child welfare organisations with Karen Fisher and Shang Xiaoyuan (2018 Palgrave).

The Department of International Development (@LSE_ID) was established in 1990 as the Development Studies Institute (DESTIN) to promote interdisciplinary postgraduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis, collaboratively producing a roadmap for the future.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECivilSociety

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A podcast of this event is available to download from Civil Society Under Threat: COVID-19, authoritarianism and more

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