Civil Society, NGOs and the State

Subject 121-408 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Eight 3-hour classes, beginning in the first week of semester.
Total Time Commitment: .
Prerequisites: Completion of 121-545 Understanding Development, or equivalent.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: .


Anthony Allen Marcus
Subject Overview:

In the nearly two decades since the end of the Cold War, the world has witnessed a remarkable rejection of the big plans and projects that characterized the period of high-modernization that existed between the Bretton Woods pact of 1944 and the end of the par value system in 1971. In place of hydroelectric engineering feats, geographically based industrial zones, and political experiments in 'third world welfare states' a multitude of social policy initiatives and international development programs tied to smaller, more efficient, face to face, culturally appropriate, and voluntary civil society based organizations have proliferated. This has spawned a sea of buzzwords, acronyms, and theoretical assumptions such as social capital, capacity building, governance and accountability, empowerment, participatory development, and non-governmental, community based, and third sector organizations (NGOs, CBOs, and TSOs). These new civil society approaches to international development assistance have become hegemonic and ubiquitous across all sectors of the development industry from small grassroots organizations to large multilateral donors such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. For many policy scientists these changes represent a welcome move towards sustainability, development on a human scale, and an end to the outrageous geopolitically driven excesses of the Cold War. However, some have argued that these approaches are the harvest of an exhaustion of utopian energies, post-modern fatalism, and a retreat from enlightenment visions of rationalism, progress, and the perfectability of mankind. This subject will examine critically different perspectives.

Assessment: A brief presentation and class discussion, 20%; a proposal and annotated bibliography, 20% (due roughly half-way through semester); a 4500 word original research essay, 60% (due on the last official day of semester). Hurdle requirement: minimum attendance six of eight classes. Missing two classes reduces the overall semester assessment by one mark.
Prescribed Texts: Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War. (CASTANEDA, JORGE.), New York: Knopf. 1993. "Forward"in Whose voice? Participatory research and policy change. (CHAMBERS, ROBERT. Edited by Jeremy Holland with James Blackburn.), London: Intermediate Technology.1998 It takes a village: And other lessons children teach us. (CLINTON, HILLARY R.), New York: Simon & Schuster. 1996. Blurred boundaries: The discourse of corruption, the culture of politics, and the imagined state. (GUPTA, AKHIL.), American Ethnologist 1995. 22:375-402. Change the World Without Taking Power. (HOLLOWAY, JOHN.), Sterling VA: Pluto Press. 2002. Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital (PUTNAM, ROBERT D. J), Journal of Democracy. 1995. 6:1, 65-78.
Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • work independently

  • communicate knowledge effectively

  • think creatively

  • prepare a research paper

Notes: .
Related Course(s): Master of Development Studies (Gender & Development)
Master of Development Studies(CWT)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Development Studies)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Gender Studies)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Gender Studies)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts(Development Studies)

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