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For many commentators, global civil society is revolutionising our approach to global politics, as new non-state-based and border-free expressions of political community challenge territorial sovereignty as the exclusive basis for political community and identity. This challenge 'from below' to the nation-state system is increasingly seen as promising nothing less than a reconstruction, or a re-imagination, of world politics itself. Whether in terms of the democratisation of the institutions of global governance, the spread of human rights across the world, or the emergence of a global citizenry in a world-wide public sphere, global civil society is understood by many to provide the agency necessary to these hoped-for transformations. Global Civil Society asks whether this idea is such a qualitatively new phenomenon after all; whether the transformation of the states' system is actually within its reach; and what some of its drawbacks might be. This collection brings together and clarifies emerging positions on global civil society and the key points of overlap and disagreement between them. The authors explore and critically evaluate a variety of perspectives: the cosmopolitan vision; the view of global civil society as transnational movements advocating a growing moralisation of world politics; the neo-Gramscian approach and the more sceptical views, advancing new possibilities for understanding the role of non-state actors in global politics. This book brings together for the first time the whole range of established and alternative voices on global civil society, both congratulatory and critical, to set a marker for the state of the debate about global civil society today. Many of the authors provide new perspectives on what global civil society means today. This book will prove invaluable for students and researchers in the fields of International Politics, Democratization and Civil Society.
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