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PADM 5815: Civil Society Organizations and Development

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PADM 5115: Introduction to State and Society
PADM 5116: Policy Analysis and Contemporary Governance
PADM 5117: Public Sector Management and the Canadian Political System
PADM 5211: Canadian Intergovernmental Relations
PADM 5212: Public Policy and Civil Society - Options and Issues in Financing the Third Sector
PADM 5213: Gender and Public Policy
PADM 5214 Budgetary Policy in the Public Sector
PADM 5215 Benefit-Cost Analysis
PADM 5220 Regulation and Public Policy
PADM 5221: Health Policy in Canada
PADM 5223: Economic Policy in Canada
PADM 5224 Aboriginal Policy - The North
PADM 5225: Trade Policy
PADM 5229: The Health of Populations
PADM 5272: Risk Assessment and Management
PADM 5411 Organization Theory
PADM 5412 Ethics and Accountability in the Public Sector
PADM 5415 Strategic Management in the Public Sector
PADM 5416: Budget Management for the Public Sector
PADM 5417 Principles of Finance
PADM 5418 Human Resource Management
PADM 5420: Policy & Program Evaluation
PADM 5421: Globalizing Public Management - Measuring and Monitoring Governance
PADM 5422 Urban and Local Government Management
PADM 5423: Third Sector Governance and Management
PADM 5472: Managing Policy and Process in a Federal Government Policy Organization
PADM 5472: Technology and Public Administratin
PADM 5472: The Politics of Management: Thinking like a Manager
PADM 5510: Energy Economics
PADM 5515: Sustainable Energy Policy
PADM 5614: Natural Resource Management
PADM 5615: Policy and Politics of Energy in Canada
PADM 5618: Environmental and Ecological Economics
PADM 5672: Innovation Policy
PADM 5813 The Evolution of World Bank/IMF Policy
PADM 5814 Program and Project Management
PADM 5815: Civil Society Organizations and Development
PADM 5816 Program Evaluation in Developing Countries
PADM 5818 Theories of Development


Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration

PADM-5815: Civil Society Organizations and Development

DescriptionAlthough vitally important to social, economic and political development, civil society is facing serious challenges that limit its capacity and undermine its ability to impact positively on development, both nationally and at the global level. In the South as well as in the North, the relationship between civil society and the state is far from ideal. In many places, the tendency is to ignore the third sector and devalue its contribution to social, economic and political life. In others, the state seeks to deliberately limit and constrain civil society because of its perceived influence on economic and political life.

The seminar intends to look at how civil society, broadly speaking, and voluntary sector organizations in particular, are meeting these challenges and succeeding in influencing the public policy dialogue. It will look at how public policy and the process of governance can enable the sector to achieve its multiple roles more effectively. Participants will critically examine instances where civil society has effectively contributed to the achievement of sound development policies and results, and consider its potential impact within new partnerships and mechanisms for development.

The readings and assignments have a twofold purpose: they are intended to contribute to our grasp of the theoretical and historical underpinnings of civil society around the globe and link to practical concerns regarding governance, policy formulation, and program implementation in the sector. The focus is international and global, but it will be rooted in the realities of operating in and from Canada. And finally, while our field of study is civil society, we will necessarily investigate its evolving relationships with governments and the private sector locally, nationally and globally.

By the end of the seminar, you will be able to:

1. Understand and explain the roles civil society organizations play globally and from place to place, and assess whether they contribute to a better, more just world.

2. Identify key trends in government and donor policy and decision-making that influence and frame the context for civil society organizations, and the challenges they pose for the sector.

3. Critically assess the kinds of national public policies and donor strategies that would enable the sector to be a stronger and more effective agent of development, and the degree to which civil society has and can influence those public policies and trends.

4. Outline opportunities for renewing and re-invigorating civil society globally.

Faculty: Barbara Levine (Winter 2012)

Source: Syllabus downloaded from (accessed 7 January 2014)


Teaching Topics Addressed in this Course, Organized by Public Policy and Management Subject



Commentary by the Atlas editors: The class titles suggest candidates for teaching topics to be developed:

  • Conceptualizing civil society-government relations
  • Edwards’ typology: civil society as associational life, as the “good life”, as the public sphere, and why this debate matters
  • Role of public policy and its impact on Donor-CSO Relations in Canada and globally
  • Redefining accountability and building the preconditions for a true civil society
  • NGOs and the state: Re-thinking the development model
  • NGOs in totalitarian states
  • New partnerships, new actors, new mechanisms in civil society
  • International campaigns and advocacy
  • Evaluating the performance of civil society

Page created by: Ian Clark, 7 January 2014. The content presented on this page, except in the Commentary, is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.




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School of Public Policy and Governance