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Civil society in Africa? : Forms of social self-organization between the poles of globalization and local socio-political order

URN to cite this document: urn:nbn:de:bvb:703-epub-1697-1

Title data

Neubert, Dieter:
Civil society in Africa? : Forms of social self-organization between the poles of globalization and local socio-political order.
transl.: Schubert, Ruth . Institut für Afrikastudien
Bayreuth , 2014 . - 23 P. - (Bayreuth African Studies Working Papers ; 12 )

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In the public political debate the existence of an African civil society is usually taken for granted. The great number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is regarded as evidence. While the first civil society organizations emerged during colonial times, the growing number of NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) today is mainly a result of the high level of support given to these organizations in global development politics since the 1980s. Other types of organization, such as trade unions, also emerged with the support of their globally acting partners. Nevertheless these organizations form the nucleus of an African civil society, with varying degrees of relevance and influence in different African countries. Aside from the organizations that match European patterns, there is a realm of societal self-organization which cannot be captured adequately with the concept of civil society. This includes local forms of political organization such as chiefs, councils of elders, local defence units, militia groups, militant social movements, or violence entrepreneurs, which are part of newly negotiated political arrangements. They are not simply relics of former traditions but local responses to globalized modernity. The concept of civil society with its strict normative standards is too narrow to cover all these complex African socio-political structures.

Further data

Item Type: Book / Monograph
Additional notes (visible to public): This working paper is an English version of the article: "Zivilgesellschaft in Afrika? Formen gesellschaftlicher Selbstorganisation im Spannungsfeld von Globalisierung und lokaler soziopolitischer Ordnung. " First published in: Axel Paul, Alejandro Pelfini, Boike Rehbein (eds.),Globalisierung Süd, Special Issue of the Journal “Leviathan” 2011, 185-204. Translated by Ruth Schubert.
Keywords: Africa; civil society; NGO
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Central research institutes
Research Institutions > Central research institutes > Institute of African Studies - IAS
Language: English
Originates at UBT: Yes
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:703-epub-1697-1
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2014 11:28
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2014 11:28


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