Global Civil Society?

John Keane, a leading political thinker, tracks the recent development of a powerful big idea — global civil society. Keane explores the jumble of contradictory forces currently nurturing or threatening its growth, and shows how talk of global civil society implies a political vision of a less violent world founded on legally sanctioned power-sharing arrangements among many different and intermingling forms of socio-economic life. Keane's reflections are pitted against the widespread feeling that the world is both too complex or too violent and crazy to deserve serious reflection. His account borrows from various scholarly disciplines, including political science and international relations, to challenge the normative silence and confusion within much of the contemporary literature on globalisation and global governance. Against fears of terrorism, rising tides of xenophobia, and loose talk of 'anti-globalisation', the defence of global civil society mounted here implies the need for new democratic ways of living — and for brand-new democratic thinking about such planetary matters as global markets, uncivil war, university life, and government with a global reach.

JOHN KEANE is founder of the Centre for the Study of Democracy and Professor of Politics at the University of Westminster. Born in Australia and educated at the universities of Adelaide, Toronto and Cambridge, he is a frequent contributor to radio programmes and newspapers and magazines around the world. Among his books are The Media and Democracy (1991), which has been translated into more than twenty-five languages; the prize-winning biography Tom Paine: A Political Life (1995); Civil Society: Old Images, New Visions, (1998); and a biography of power, clav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts (1999). He was recently Karl Deutsch Professor of Political Science at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin and a Fellow of the influential London-based think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research. He is currently writing a full-scale history of democracy — the first for over a century.

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Global Civil Society?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Global Civil Society? *
  • Global Civil Society? *
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Unfamiliar Words 1
  • Catalysts 40
  • Cosmocracy 92
  • Paradise on Earth? 129
  • Ethics Beyond Borders 175
  • Further Reading 210
  • Index 214
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