• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Areas of interest International Relations
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course explores the contested concept of global civil society and its relevance to the study of contemporary world politics. It begins by mapping the various interpretations of what constitutes civil society and the actors within it. Against this conceptual background, special attention will be given to the role and effectiveness of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). By taking a bottom-up approach to solving problems on a global scale, these organisations are often seen as a substitute for inter-state diplomacy as well as a corrective to the failures of global capitalism. The aim of this course will be to critically assess the potential for such organisations to act as a 'third force' in international politics. To this end, the course will address the participation of NGOs at international forums, the relationship between NGOs and donor institutions, and the wider representative role of NGOs within society. The final part of the course will investigate the activities of NGOs in relation to key issues such as women's rights, humanitarian intervention, development and environmental degradation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

This course will provide students with the necessary conceptual and analytical tools to critically evaluate the evolution of civil society at the global level. Students will also learn to apply their new knowledge and skills to an empirical case study and in so doing develop their capacity to research new issues.

Indicative Assessment

5,000 - 6,000 words of written assessment, comprising essays, seminar papers and an examination as deemed appropriate by the lecturer.

Oral Presentation (20%)
First Essay (40%)
Second Essay (40%)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


8 hours per week: two for seminar attendance, and six for reading and writing. Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Prescribed Texts

The three key texts for the course include John Keane (2003) Global Civil Society?
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Sanjeev Khagram, James V. Riker and Kathryn
Sikkink (2002) (eds.) Restructuring World Politics: Transnational Social Movements,
Networks, and Norms (University of Minnesota Press), and David Chandler (2005)
Constructing Global Civil Society: Morality and Power in International Relations, Palgrave

Preliminary Reading

Reading required before the course begins.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

There are no current offerings for this course.

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