Carleton University - School of Public Policy and Administration
PADM-5815: Civil Society Organizations and Development
Description: Although 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 http://carleton.ca/sppa/academics/course-information/2012-winter-course-outlines/ (accessed 7 January 2014)