"Global Civil Society" and the Political Depoliticization of Global Governance
Abbreviated Journal Title
Int. Polit. Sociol.
UNITED-NATIONS; INTERNATIONAL-RELATIONS; WORLD-POLITICS; HUMAN-RIGHTS; SYSTEM; International Relations; Political Science; Sociology
Activists, officials, and academics alike have often linked observations about an emerging global civil society to an incipient democratization of world politics. Global civil society is assumed to bring public scrutiny and "bottom-up" politics to international decision making "from outside" formal political institutions. Based on an analysis of uses of the concept of global civil society in 1990s global governance discourse (especially related to the major UN world conferences), this paper argues that the presumed democratization of world politics is better understood in terms of a double movement: on the one hand, "global civil society" depoliticizes global governance through the promotion of "human security" and "social development"; on the other hand, the emerging international public sphere (in the UN context) operates as a subsystem of world politics rather than opposing the system from outside. Practices of depoliticization are thus part of the political logic of (neo-)liberal global governance. The argument draws on Luhmann's systems theory and Foucault's analysis of governmentality.
International Political Sociology
""Global Civil Society" and the Political Depoliticization of Global Governance" (2007). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 7258.