Civil Society, NGOs and the State

Subject DEVT90039 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students enrolling in this subject must be enrolled in a Masters by coursework degree.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Mr Tamas Wells


Tamas Wells


Subject Overview:

Over the course of the last thirty years, an 'associational revolution' has swept the world, as more and more civil society organizations have taken over tasks formerly assigned to states, formed cross-boder advocacy campaigns to hold both states and corporations accountable for labor, environmental, and human rights violations, and formulated alternative development policies that run counter to the paradigms espoused by the World Bank and other multilateral lending organizations. While some argue that this associational revolution promises more particpatory, expedient, and decentralized forms of transnational governance, others contend that it reflects little more than the ongoing privatization of the public sphere at the hands of transnational capital. In this course, we evaluate these and alternative perspectives by exploring transformations in the structure of the global political-economy over the past thirty years; looking closely at the roles played by a variety of NGOs and CBOs as part of more multi-layered regimes of 'global governance'; analyzing the shifts in state structures that have made these regimes possible; and teasing apart the ongoing tensions between various factions of what some have called, an emerging 'global civil society'. Case studies will be drawn from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfuly complete this subect will:

  • Recognise and explain key theories of the state and civil society (liberal, post-Marxist, etc.).
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the strengths, weaknesses, and embedded assumptions of these theories.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the shifts in global governance that have contributed to the NGO ‘revolution.’
  • Be able to analyse the range of challenges and opportunities facing civil society organizations in today’s policy environment.


A 1500 word essay (30%) due in Week 7 of Semester, a 500 word research proposal (10%) due towards the end of sememster, and a 3000 word final research paper (60%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Readings will be made available on the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • work independently;
  • communicate knowledge effectively;
  • think creatively;
  • prepare a research paper.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Development Studies
100 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
100 Point Master of Journalism
100 Point Master of Social Policy
150 Point Master of Development Studies
150 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
150 Point Master of Journalism
150 Point Master of Social Policy
150 point program - full time over 18 months
200 Point Master of Development Studies
200 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
200 Point Master of Global Media Communication
200 Point Master of Journalism
200 Point Master of Social Policy
200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies
Gender and Development Specialisation - 100 Point Program
Gender and Development Specialisation - 150 Point Program
Gender and Development Specialisation - 200 Point Program
Media and Communications
Media and Communications
Media and Communications
Media and Communications
Tailored Specialisation

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