GOV 94gs: Globalization and Civil Society





This seminar explores the rise of civil society, looking at Western Europe, the US, and the rest of the world. We first explore the concept of civil society in Western thought, examining the debates over it and over related concepts such as the public sphere, social capital and civic engagement.  We look at the relation between civil society and democracy, at the role of civil society in democratic transitions, and at the forms civil society takes under conditions of severe repression. We examine several country cases (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China) drawn from Asia, but the seminar draws broadly from examples in a number of other countries, in and outside of Asia.   A key question is how civil societies arise in the first place. Among the issues and problems we take up are: the relation between the state and civil society; the rise and role of transborder NGOs as nonstate actors in international relations; the transforming effects of digital technologies on the relation between state and social actors; the effects of civil society on ethnic conflict and vice versa; the role of religious groups as social actors; and the emergence of international civil society. (In the past this course was called GOV 98gs.)