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Global civil society and its discontents

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According to enthusiasts the concept of global civil society is spreading rapidly and becoming pivotal to the reconfiguring of the statist paradigm. However, critics have recently grown more numerous and outspoken in opposition to the term claiming that it is actually perpetuating statism by grafting the idea of civil society onto the global by way of an unhelpful domestic analogy. This paper examines the role the concept is playing in perpetuating/reconfiguring statism. First it summarizes current criticism by identifying three basic accusations: the ambiguity of the term, the “domestic fallacy,” and the undemocratic effects of using it. Second, these criticisms are considered in turn and it is concluded that all three points relate, ultimately, back to the failure of the critics themselves and some global civil society theorists to move beyond a state-centered framework of interpretation. In the final section it is shown how global civil society discourse is beginning to move not only the concept of “civil society” away from its state-centred historical meanings, but also how it is contributing to changing the content of the concept of “the global.”
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Vol/bind17
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)302-323
Antal sider22
ISSN0957-8765
DOI
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2006

ID: 167175314