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Civil Society and NGOs

Global Development
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

This course aims to analyze the contested concept of “global civil society”, whilst looking at its relevance to the study of contemporary world politics. It will be given special attention to the role and effectiveness of the so-called Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), on the international level. The main goal of this course is to critically assess the potential for such organisations to act as a 'third force' in international politics, since they act as a place for the development of multilateral diplomacy between countries.

Course Content

1. Conceptual framework: Introduction to Global Civil Society

  a) The Limits of Global Civil Society to its action

2. Civil Society Actors

  a) International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs): Transnational Civil Society

  i) Historical Evolution of NGOs

  b) NGOs and their impact on civil society

  i) Participation in International Forums

  ii) Relationship between NGOs and donor institutions

  iii) The role of NGOs in Bilateral and Multilateral Diplomacy

3. NGOs practical work: women's rights, humanitarian intervention, development and environmental degradation.


Chandler, David. Constructing Global Civil Society: Morality and Power in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Davies, Thomas. NGOs: A New History of Transnational Civil Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Keane, John. Global Civil Society? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003

Khagram, Sanjeev. Riker, James V. Sikkink, Kathryn (eds.). Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements, Networks, and Norms. University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Laxer, Gordon. Halperin, Sandra (eds.). Global Civil Society and Its Limits. International Political Economy Series. UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Roeder, Larry Winter. Simard, Albert (auth.). Diplomacy and Negotiation for Humanitarian NGOs. Humanitarian Solutions in the 21st Century. New York: Springer-Verlag, 2013.