Problems in the Theorisation of Global Civil Society

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Abstract

Existing theories of global civil society are problematical for two reasons. First, they assume that transnational organisations can assist world-wide democratisation without questioning either the representativeness of such organisations, or their accountability, or the potentially negative ramifications of their actions for international political equality. Second, despite placing new emphasis on political agency outside of the state, many accounts of global civil society ultimately reproduce statist discourse by reducing action in global civil society to a struggle for rights. This misrepresents global civil society since arguments for rights are, inter alia, arguments for the state, whereas the agency of global civil society immanently questions the legitimacy of the state.

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