After completing this course students:
- Are able to position the shifting role of civil society in the globalization process;
- are able to use different conceptual frameworks in analyzing the very diverse manifestations of civil society;
- have understood the roles of legitimacy and accountability as key issues for civil society’s influence.
In our globalizing world, Trans National Corporations (TNC’s) are a well-known reality. All larger corporations have built a global presence to benefit as much as possible from the most efficient conditions for production and consumption. Governments have built their multilateral agencies on global (UN) and regional (EU, AU, Mercosur, Asean) level to better respond to the new reality of an interconnected world in order to be able to better serve the interests of their citizens.
What is the state of affairs of civil society in this globalizing world? Is the famous institutional triangle of state-market-civil society reproducing itself from the national to the global level? Is civil society able, like corporations and states, to come forward with innovative responses to this trend of globalization or will it get stuck in its traditional community-based identity?
In the last few decades we see an emerging trend of a global civil society organizations (GCSO’s) striving to take their role at the global stage. This works out differently for different types of civil society organizations (cso’s). Cso’s which are into political advocacy - like Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and Oxfam - are building global networks to hold governments and companies accountable about their policies on ecology, human rights and poverty reduction. With their global brand they are trying to influence global policies in order to make this world more safe, more just, more sustainable. More traditionally, religious organizations (Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans) have built their global networks of social organizations in order to deliver services to deprived local communities. And trade unions have built long existing global networks to harness their joint position across borders in order to defend particular workers’ interests.
In order to be able to act on the global level different types of cso’s not only need to deal with organizational issues like building these global networks. They also need to face new issues of legitimacy and accountability. While cso’s at the national level nowadays face issues of needing to repair declining legitimacy, at the global level they need to develop strategies to gain and maintain legitimacy. Which innovative strategies do they develop to gain and maintain pragmatic, moral and cognitive legitimacy (Suchman 1995) at the global level? And which innovative strategies do GCSO’s develop to become at the same time accountable downward (to their constituencies), upward (to funding agencies etc) and outward (to the global citizenship)?
In this course we will face these fascinating questions by focusing on crucial cases a.o. Amnesty International, religious organizations, Neighbourhood Watch, trade unions or the GLTB movement.
Please note that for non-USG bachelor students the course Introduction public administration and organizational science (USG5520/USG5020) or another introductional course covering the subject of public administration is recommended.