Risks and Opportunities in the Civil Society – Public Institutions Relationship

Country: Italy

City: Rome

Abstr. due: 14.12.2014

Dates: 07.05.15 — 09.05.15

Area Of Sciences: Sociology;

Organizing comittee e-mail: rmarchetti@luiss.it

Organizers: LUISS University – School of Government


The aim of the conference is discuss the different and many faces of the relationship between civil society actors and public institutions, both governmental and intergovernmental ones. The conference goals is to gather both scholars and practitioners in a single dialogue inclusive but larger than the mainstream western narrative. It is in fact a firm assumption of the conference that the civil society-public institutions dynamics is politically significant in all areas of the world. Both sides of the coin of the public/private relationship will be addressed. Presentations will deal with both the cooperative and the competitive/contentious relationship between governmental and non-governmental organizations in all the different phases of the policy process. Also, both legal and covered activities will be discussed. In scholarly terms, the conference aims to build bridges between different strands of academic and policy research that have looked at these actors under the differing lens of security, aid and development, public policy, global governance, contentious politics, democratization, human rights and democracy promotion, religious mobilizations, or public diplomacy.

Invited keynote speaker: Federica Mogherini (future High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Union).

Invited speakers: Clifford Bob (Duquesne University); Philip G. Cerny (Rutgers University); Donatella della Porta (European University Institute); Richard Falk (UCSB); Lorenzo Fioramonti (University of Pretoria); Deng Guosheng (Tsinghua University); Richard Youngs (Fride); Marina Lebedeva (MGIMO); Heba Raouf Ezzat (Cairo University).

In the complex system of global politics, the relationship between governmental and non-governmental actors is more and more central. In the last decades, global governance has provided civil society organizations with new opportunities to influence public decisions at the international level. Civil society actors are present in different forms in all the phases of the international policy process: in the agenda setting, in the policy decision, implementation, monitoring, and finally in the policy evaluation. From the preliminary consultations of think tanks and interest groups in the agenda setting of many issues in the EU governance to the participation of indigenous and peasant groups to the revised Food Security Committee of the FAO. As experts in different private standard setting bodies such as ICANN, and as stakeholders in hybrid global initiative such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that includes philanthropic foundations, grassroots organizations and firms. In the implementation of so many international public services from disaster relief to development aid and democracy promotion, as well as in the monitoring and assessment of many international public policies such as those on human rights. Last but not least in political significance, in less formalized contexts, the relationship between governments and non-governmental actors is equally very intense. Suffice to think about the Syrian or the Ukrainian conflicts and the role of rebel, combatant, and terrorist groups in it, often with strong identitarian or religious connotations. “Civil” and “uncivil” society is ubiquitous, and at time decisive, though its participation remains often very controversial.

Civil society has long been an object of study. Labelled differently as civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, non-state actors, social movements, interest groups, third sector or the like, what has been a common theme underpinning all these approaches has been the tension with public institutions. Such relationship has at times been overlooked, but always remained important in analytical terms. Both as cooperation and as competition, the relationship between public and private actor is crucial in order to understand many of the political dynamics occurring in today’s global politics.

Practitioners, public officials, policy analysts, activists, and scholars of civil society, social movements, religious organizations, NGOs, interest groups, and transnational networks and campaigns are all invited to submit a paper proposal for this conference.

Conference Web-Site: http://docenti.luiss.it/rmarchetti/conference-on-risks-and-opportunities-in-the-civil-society-public-institutions-relationship/

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