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PSC 700: Governance and Global Civil Society Definitions and Role


Expand our understanding of the major debates , differences of opinion, ... Marco Polo's observations in Hangzhou. London Church 'Fellowship is Life' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: PSC 700: Governance and Global Civil Society Definitions and Role

PSC 700 Governance and Global Civil
Society Definitions and Role
Learning Objectives
  • Expand our understanding of the major debates ,
    differences of opinion, recognize patterns,
  • Increase comfort level as consumers of
    information in the civil society debate
  • PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS What does this debate
    mean for civil society actors?

Unpacking Civil Society
  • Look it historically
  • What do you as an individual observe
  • Basic Definitions
  • Theory that Influences our thoughts
  • Related concepts
  • (NGOs, Non-profits, etc.)
  • Empirical Findings

For Example . . .
  • It is Alexis de Tocquevilles ghost that wanders
    through the corridors of the World Bank, not that
    of Habermas or Hegel
  • (Edwards, pg 10.)

A History of Civil Society
  • Evidence of Civil Society from long ago
  • Marco Polos observations in Hangzhou
  • London Church Fellowship is Life
  • As an intellectual concept, many point to the
    Enlightenment, 18th Century
  • Creation of laws on National Levels for Civil
    Society Actors to exists

A History of Civil Society
  • Creation of Legal Frameworks on an international
    scale (UN Charter 1945)
  • Revival as a popular concept in 1980s in reaction
    to autocratic governments
  • BUT . . . Conceptual understanding of civil
    society and its role did not progress uniformly
    there is great variation from one country to the

CS Definitions
  • Helmut Anheier
  • Modern civil society is the sum of institutions,
    organizations, and individuals located between
    the family, the state, and the market, in which
    people associate voluntarily to advance common
  • (pg. 9, from Studying Nonprofit Organizations)

CS Definitions
  • John Keane
  • A complex and dynamic ensemble of legally
    protected nongovernmental institutions that tend
    to be non-violent, self-organising,
    self-reflexive, and permanently in tension with
    each other and with the state institutions that
    frame, constrict, and enable their activities.
  • (pg. 57, from Nonprofit Organizations, theory,
    management and policy)

(No Transcript)
Something is Going On Here
  • The rise of the non-profit sector - or the
    Associational Revolution that is taking place
    across the world - may prove to be as significant
    to the later twentieth century as the rise of the
    nation-state was to the latter nineteenth.
  • (Lester M. Salamon, Foreign Affairs)
  • http//
  • http//

  • The World Bank defines civil society as the space
    among family market and state it consists of
    not-for-profit organizations and special interest
    groups, either formal or informal, working to
    improve the lives of their constituent. In this
    sense, the Bank considers research and policy
    design organizations, labor unions, the media,
    NGOs, grassroots associations, community based
    organizations, religious groups and many others
    typical examples of the actors that comprise the
    dynamic web known as civil society.
  • Taken from Working Together, The World Banks
    Partnership with Civil Society
  • http//http//

  • CIVICUS World Assembly
  • CIVICUS is effective in bringing together an
    extremely diverse range of civil society leaders
    from scores of countries and mission areas. Our
    flagship convening activity is the CIVICUS World
    Assembly, which is held every two years and
    attracts hundreds of participants. Each World
    Assembly (Mexico City in 1995, Budapest in 1997,
    and Manila in 1999) has become a primary venue
    through which civil society practitioners,
    researchers, activists, concerned business
    leaders, and government representatives
    articulate and exchange information about
    important victories they have achieved in
    strengthening citizen engagement and civil
    society, and critical challenges they, their
    organizations, and societies face. Taken from
    the Civicus Website
  • http//

The United Nations says
  • A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any
    non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is
    organized on a local, national or international
    level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a
    common interest, NGOs perform a variety of
    services and humanitarian functions, bring
    citizens' concerns to Governments, monitor
    policies and encourage political participation at
    the community level. They provide analysis and
    expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and
    help monitor and implement international
    agreements. Some are organized around specific
    issues, such as human rights, the environment or
    health. Their relationship with offices and
    agencies of the United Nations System differs
    depending on their goals, their venue and their
  • Taken from UN website http//
  • Should also consider Cordosa Report
  • http//

But how do we define CS?
  • In terms of what you think that they do.
  • In terms of their relationship to other public
  • Where do we find NGOs?
  • How they operate?
  • On what Scale?

But how do we define CS?
  • Civil Society versus NGOs
  • Popular perception of both are linked to the like
    CARE and the Save the Childrens who do
    humanitarian assistance
  • Language for NGOs Formalized within the UN as
    part of the UN Charter

Why is this debate so tense?

Religious based Work
Social Work Charity
Develop- ment
Advocacy and Rights Focus.
  • Locke
  • James Madison
  • Marx
  • Hegel
  • Gramsci
  • Tocqueville
  • Putnam

  • Pure public goods cannot exclude someone from
    the benefits and my use does not interfere with
  • (Central Park, NYC)
  • Social Entrepreneurship NGOs provide something
    to society not the maximization of profits
  • Health and Education maximizing versus profits

  • Market Failures (Information asymmetry, Moral
    hazard, Transactions costs)
  • Blood supply
  • Demand heterogeneity and median voter create a
    role for civil society
  • Public Schools versus Piano Lessons

Justifications from Orgs
  • IREX Kosovo Project
  • The Philippine Council for NGO Certification
  • Enhancing Political Culture
  • Limited State Capacity
  • Liberal Theory (Freedom of Expression)

Three Justifications for CSOs Argument 1
Enhancing Political Culture
  • Robert D. Putnam Making Democracy Work
  • CSOs-like organizations create a strong
    foundation for democracy
  • The Concept of Social Capital

Political Participation
Civic Association
Social Capital (taken from Brooks Does Social
Capital Make You Generous)
  • Putnam trust or norms of reciprocity that
    exist between people in society, evidenced by
    participation in voluntary associations and low
    transaction costs among people who do not know
    one another.

Social Capital
Robert Putnam Networks, norms, and social trust
that facillitate coordination and cooperation for
mutual benefits
Francis Fukuyama An institutional informal norm
that promotes cooperation between two or more
Synthesis The trust and social cohesiveness that
promotes giving, volunteering, and participation
in civil society
Evidence of social capital is more tangible than
social capital itself
Ref. Putnam, Fukuyama
Three Justifications for CSOs Argument 2
Limited State Capacity
  • Joel Migdal building on Max Webers Bureaucracy
  • The State cannot exert absolute power in all
    segments of society
  • NGOs can play a role where Government cannot reach

Three Justifications for CSOs Argument 3
Liberal Theory
  • Liberal Political Theory holds two minimums of
    democratic society
  • 1) Free Speech and 2) Free Association
  • NGOs can provide such forum, a voice for a group
    of people

Civil Society Development
  • How many CSOs are there?
  • Are there more than before?
  • Causal Factors
  • Rapid Economic Development and Creation of a
    Middle Class
  • Free Markets and Liberalized Governments
  • Increasing Acceptance by Governments
  • International Movements and Donor Funding Focus
  • Others?