Since the end of the Cold War, activists and scholars alike have celebrated the phenomenal growth of transnational social movements across the globe. For some, this new eruption of grass--roots political activism on a world scale -- from the Rio Earth Summit to the Seattle anti--globalization protests -- represents the emergence of a global or transnational civil society. This book provides a critical survey of recent approaches to the study of civil society and international relations, presenting an alternative historical and sociological account of the interaction between these two spheres. It makes a theoretical case for the importance of social movements in world politics arguing that modern social movements emerging out of civil society have been instrumental in shaping the contemporary international system. In this wide--ranging engagement with past and present controversies in international relations, Colas shows how a renewed conception of international civil society can illuminate future possibilities for international social movement activity.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of international relations, political sociology and social history, as well as those who seek to play a part in global politics.
Alejandro Colas is a Lecturer in International Relations at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Acknowledgements. Chapter One: Introduction. Non--state Actors in International Relations. Chapter Two: Civil Society. The Challenge of the International. Chapter Three: Agencies and Structures in IR. Analysing International Social Movements. Chapter Four: International Society From Below. The Role of Civil Society in International Relations. Chapter Five: The Promises of International Civil Society. Global Governance, Cosmopolitan Democracy and the End of Sovereignty?. Conclusions: The Uses of International Civil Society. Bibliography. Notes. Index