Global Governance Global Civil Society  Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

In these constructs, the nation-state is seen as the outgrowth of global political arrangements, as global desires for money and power shape the globalizing world (Meyer et al., 1999). But the primary weakness in this paradigm is the fact that a globalized world constructed through political means would be just that, a globalized world, but not necessarily a global civil society. Indeed, such an organization would fail to meet the requirements of an idealized global civil society. In addition, models that stress politics as the driving force of the global civil society forget that the contemporary driving forces of the global civil society are issues that all the world has an interest in, such as global climate change and emissions, terrorism, and the development of nuclear weapons. Further, those models forget the importance of culture and shared cultural values in the world system. Evidence of this is the degree with which non-state actors are playing a role in the globalized world. In fact, in their 1997 study, Boli and Thomas found that the International NGOs have "helped construct a world polity that cannot be reduced to networks of economic and political interaction" (pg. 171). Further, that world polity continues to grow with the spread and linking of NGOs, who have become more and more powerful in their ability to affect change. Anheier, Glasius, and Kaldor (2001) show that global civil society is becoming "thicker" based on an unprecedented growth of international NGOs in the past decade, in addition to their ability to link together and with IGOs like the UN (pg. 4).

Thus, politics plays an important role in the formation of the global civil society, but it is more as something that should be overcome than as a contributing factor. Because a global civil society is organized more around shared cultural values than around a political bureaucracy. This will pose significant challenges to the formation of the global civil society, as political actors will be reluctant to give up their power for an idealistic system.

Having established that the emergence of the global civil society will he highly reliant on the spread of cultural norms and the eradication of political structure, it is time to now evaluate the global civil society, considering whether or not the developed society is one that will spread justice and democracy throughout the world. Of course, this is what Keane (2003) implies when he introduces the model of the global civil society as the ideal construct for the world. According to Lipshutz (1992), the global civil society, with its various international NGOs, will affect change in the area of human rights. The author argues that "a broad range of organizations has come into existence as a response to the global institutionalization of norms relating to human rights" (Lipshutz, 1992, pg. 394). Not only has the global civil society helped achieve justice when it comes to human rights, but this organization has also fostered the link between human rights and environmental groups, furthering the degree to which global justice is pursued (Lipshutz, 1992). Further, the increasing involvement of these international NGOs, in addition to the developing concept of international law's authority, creates a new system in which accountability and justice are lauded.

In addition to achieving social justice, another important facet of the global civil society is the democratization of the world system. Giving people a voice in even those areas that have been traditionally suppressed politically is certainly a human rights issue and a concern of global justice. Indeed, Pasha and Blaney (1998) show that the language of the global civil society has long been intrinsically connected with the language of global democracy. Jaegar (2007) contends that globalization can achieve democracy in two ways -- through depoliticization and the rising international sphere. That is, Jaegar suggests because politics is no longer of extreme importance in the global civil society, the burden of political oppression will be gone. Then, the international sphere will provide a forum where all voices can be heard. Because "social development and human security" will be stressed more than politics, the road for democratization is left open. Still, Pasha and Blaney (1998) urge caution when one undertakes a discussion of the democratic nature of the global civil society. The authors suggest that a global democratic organization is not necessarily mandated by a civil society, which may actually do more harm than good to developing Third World states (Pashsa and Blaney, 1998). Held (1995) echoes the concerns of Pashta and Blaney (1998), suggesting that the current form of democracy is corrupt, but his argument calls for an international democratic organization as a solution.

Thus, the idea of the global civil society is not a new one, but it is a complex idea, bringing together the concepts of culture, politics, and democracy and justice, along with many other characteristics. The global civil society is dependant upon culture and the spread of cultural norms in order to take effect as the architect of an ideal world. In addition, the global civil society is equally independent of politics. In fact, politics will become a major stumbling block to the implementation of this new society. Finally, the global civil society is needed in order to create a world in which justice and democracy are effective. Achieving the ideal version of the global civil society is by no means easy, but it certainly is possible…

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