Civil Society in Regional Governance in Eastern and Southern Africa

Book Title: 
Civil Society and International Governance. The Role of non-state Actors in Global and Regional Regulatory Frameworks
Author(s): 
Publication Year: 
2011
Publication Place: 
London
Publisher: 
Routledge
ISBN: 
978-0-203-84005-4
Pages: 
148-165
Abstract: 

The relatively scant emphasis given to civil society in studies dealing with
regionalism would seem to suggest the low relevance of civil society in this
regard. This is unfortunate because, as this chapter elaborates, civil society is a
dynamic force at the regional level and deserves deeper analysis. To this end,
this chapter seeks to contribute to the debate about civil society’s role in regional
governance in Eastern and Southern Africa. We argue that the neglect of civil
society in the study of regional governance is at least partly a theoretical and
conceptual problem. As emphasized in the first part of this chapter, it is necessary
to acknowledge the heterogeneity of links between civil society and states
that arise in different socio-cultural
and political contexts. We argue in particular
that theories and conceptualizations of civil society rooted in the Western or
European experience risk misunderstanding the logic of African civil society and
its involvement in regional governance.

Keywords: 
global governance; protest movement; international politics; international relations; civil society; non-governmental organization; participation; citizens' participation; decision making; EU; Africa; Far East; Middle East; regional integration; European integration; collective identity; non-profit sector; cooperation