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International Civil Society: Social Movements in World Politics

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2556-0
232 pages
January 2002, Polity
International Civil Society: Social Movements in World Politics (0745625568) cover image
Since the end of the Cold War, activists and scholars alike have celebrated the phenomenal growth of transnational social movements across the globe. For some, this new eruption of grass-roots political activism on a world scale – from the Rio Earth Summit to the Seattle anti-globalization protests – represents the emergence of a global or transnational civil society.

This book provides a critical survey of recent approaches to the study of civil society and international relations, presenting an alternative historical and sociological account of the interaction between these two spheres. It makes a theoretical case for the importance of social movements in world politics arguing that modern social movements emerging out of civil society have been instrumental in shaping the contemporary international system.

In this wide-ranging engagement with past and present controversies in international relations, Colás shows how a renewed conception of international civil society can illuminate future possibilities for international social movement activity.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, political sociology and social history, as well as those who seek to play a part in global politics.

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Acknowledgements.

Chapter One: Introduction.

Non-state Actors in International Relations.

Chapter Two: Civil Society.

The Challenge of the International.

Chapter Three: Agencies and Structures in IR.

Analysing International Social Movements.

Chapter Four: International Society From Below.

The Role of Civil Society in International Relations.

Chapter Five: The Promises of International Civil Society.

Global Governance, Cosmopolitan Democracy and the End of Sovereignty?.

Conclusions: The Uses of International Civil Society.

Bibliography.

Notes.

Index

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Alejandro Colás is a Lecturer in International Relations at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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  • Clear, accessible introduction to the role of social movement in world politics

  • Offers an historical and comparative account of the development and impact of social movements ion the international order

  • Develops a new conception of international civil society and its role in international relations
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"Alejandro Colás takes a critical, and historically informed, look at the international spread of social movements, and of what is termed "civil society". Stressing that the components of civil society are in their very origins international, and that they have done much to shape the international system itself, Colás at the same time questions much prevailing analysis of the direction and impact of such groups. At once engaged and rigorous, this book will be of interest to students of international relations, politics and sociology, as much as it will challenge those who are engaged in international civil society itself." Fred Halliday, London School of Economics and Political Science

“It is no exaggeration to say that International Civil Society is probably the best single IR volume on this topic. In a set of tightly-argued and well-written chapters, Colas seeks to bring some much needed rigour to the ongoing debates about what is more commonly dubbed global civil society, themselves a significant part of the larger debates about globalization.” Millennium

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