Global Civil Society: Contested Futures

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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 worldwide public sphere, global civil society is understood by many to provide the agency necessary for these hoped-for transformations. Global Civil Society asks whether this idea is such a qualitatively new phenomenon after all; whether the transformation of the nation-state system is actually within its reach; and what some of the drawbacks might be.