© 2004

Constructing Global Civil Society

Morality and Power in International Relations


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. David Chandler
      Pages 1-22
  3. Actually Existing Global Civil Society

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 23-23
    2. David Chandler
      Pages 25-56
    3. David Chandler
      Pages 57-81
    4. David Chandler
      Pages 82-108
  4. The Normative Project

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 109-109
    2. David Chandler
      Pages 111-140
    3. David Chandler
      Pages 141-170
    4. David Chandler
      Pages 171-195
    5. David Chandler
      Pages 196-209
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 210-238

About this book


Global Civil Society is a crucial concept in International Relations today, used as both a description of new mechanisms of non-state actor and NGO engagement in international policy-making and as a normative political project of international change. David Chandler critically investigates the claims made by the advocates of global civil society, analyzing the limits of the concept as a way of describing actual policy processes and the political dynamics behind the search for an international source of collective ethical values and social change.


international policy international relations morality NGO policy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of DemocracyUniversity of WestminsterUK

About the authors

DAVID CHANDLER is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, UK. He has published widely on international relations, democracy and human rights, including Bosnia: Faking Democracy after Dayton (1999, 2000), From Kosovo to Kabul: Human Rights and International Relations (2002) and Rethinking Human Rights: Critical Approaches to International Politics (Editor, 2002).

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


'This is an important critique of normative and practical projects for 'global civil society.' Chandler identifies the disturbingly elitist and anti-democratic elements of the programs that claim to be the only serious alternatives to the unaccountable and undemocratic mechanisms of contemporary global governance.' - Craig N. Murphy, M. Margaret Ball Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, Wellesley College, USA

'Within the English literature on global civil society this book stands out as an important contribution for manifold reasons. First of all it accurately distinguishes between the empirical approach and the normative one. From the empirical point of view David Chandler's sharp analysis explains the reasons which are behind the increasing success of the notion of 'global civil society' within the Western academic culture, journalist lexicon, and political rhetoric. From the normative point of view Chandler emphasizes a telling coincidence: on one hand, we are witnessing a serious crisis of domestic political arenas, paralysed as they are because of the lack of legitimacy, responsiveness and accountability of democratic regimes. On the other hand, there is a diffuse expectation that radical changes can result from the demolition of all domestic frontiers. The highest merit of the book lies in its realist attitude towards the globalist idealism. According to Chandler, the success of the notion of 'global civil society' is much more a consequence of the crisis of Western democracies than an expression of a new, real dimension of international relations. Globalist idealism and democratic malaise are two sides of the same coin.' - Danilo Zolo, Professor of Politics, University of Florence, Italy