Wednesday, March 07, 2007

2007 TWSC Summer Certificate Course on Globalization and Civil Society in Asia

A Joint Project of the Third World Studies Center and Asian Center (University of the Philippines-Diliman) and BusinessWorld

21-25 May 2007

Download registration form here.

I. Background

Civil society twice claimed victory over the collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meetings. The debacle in Seattle in 1999 has shown the capacity of civil society to launch concerted action to challenge the staunch supporters of the Washington Consensus. In 2003, again, civil society significantly contributed in derailing the introduction of a new round of negotiations in Cancun. With these events, the New York Times has suggested that global civil society is the world’s second superpower. On the other hand, as the power of states are being reconfigured to allow the market to take its natural course, civil society has jumped in and assumed the responsibilities of development. Nongovernment organizations are now engaged in activities that were otherwise confined to the state or even the business sector—service delivery, micro-financing, enterprise development, etc.—to either enhance competitiveness or cushion the blow of globalization. This begs the question: What is the role of civil society vis-à-vis the processes of globalization? Has it emerged as a major player, as the media portrays it to be? If so, how has it emerged to be a formidable force?

Much has been said about the potentials of civil society. But again, while it is tempting to make a sweeping conclusion about its promises, there may be caveats buried amongst the victory marches and celebrations. It is timely to take stock of the role of civil society in the globalization conundrum. If indeed it contributes and upholds the principles of democracy, then it is necessary to critically analyze its disposition, strategy and action. If indeed it legitimizes the conduct of governance of globalization, and the establishment of institutions for this purpose, then the more it is imperative to objectively examine the underpinning for such “moral ascendancy”, as scholars have put it. Indeed, the factors which facilitate civil society’s role in global governance are significantly linked to the nature and processes of globalization. But it remains an open question whether civil society will have substantial impact.

This Summer Certificate Course on Globalization and Civil Society with a regional focus in Asia intends to offer a venue for this stocktaking and critical analysis. With the Asia’s heterogeneous social, political, and economic milieu, the variegated state-civil society dynamics in response to globalization provides a rich source of learning. With the increasing drive towards greater integration into the world economy, it is timely to analyze how these changes have reconfigured Asians states and societies and the prospects for regional cooperation.

II. Design and Methodology

The 2007 Certificate Course on Globalization and Civil Society in Asia is a five-day intensive program featuring lectures, workshops, discussions, and plenary sessions focusing on five thematic issues on globalization and civil society.

The course will consist of:

1. Lectures. Leading academics and development practitioners will be invited to deliver a talk on assigned topics. In each module, lecturers will start off with the conceptual/theoretical then discuss specific issues and case studies.

2. Workshops and plenary group presentations. These will probe into the different points raised in the lectures. Format of workshops, which range from small group discussion to film-showing, may vary depending on the topic. After each workshop, participants will have the opportunity to present and synthesize their learning experiences in the plenary sessions.

3. Reading assignments. The organizers will provide the participants reading materials, which will be included in the seminar kit to be given one week before the commencement of the course. There will be assigned readings everyday.

4. Project. Participants will be arranged into groups to come up with and submit a seminar output as partial requirement of the course.

The certificate course will be held on 21-25 May 2007, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, for a total of 40 hours of intensive training. Participants have to attend all lectures, workshops and group discussions and submit a final seminar output to earn a Certificate of Completion at the end of the program.

III. Modules

Module 1
Globalization: A Critrical Introduction

From Thomas Friedman’s pop analysis in The Lexus and the Olive Tree to James Petras’ and Henry Veltmeyer’s treatise on imperialism in the twenty-first century in Globalization Unmasked, globalization remains to be the most important debate of the times. Yet, despite a burgeoning literature, no cogent theory of globalization or a systematic analysis of its primary features has been formulated. As an introductory part of the course, this module will tackle basic issues in understanding globalization, using the Asian region as context. It will survey and sketch the various approaches used by social scientists to explain the complexity of globalization ich include but not limited to world-system theory and neorealism/neoliberal institutionalism. It is expected that at the end of this module, students will have a better grasp of the current discourse on globalization, particularly on the core areas that dominate public and academic debate—the nature of the world economy, the role of the state, and the contestation of culture.

1. Political Economy of Globalization
2. Cultures and Globalization

Module 2
Globalization and the Role of Civil Society

Building on the discussions in Module 1, particularly on nonstate actors, this module will provide a framework in situating and analyzing civil society in the context of globalization. The concept of civil society has evolved through time and has been interpreted in more ways than one. It has been associated with the development of the capitalist economy and the resultant separation between the economic and political spheres, which is linked to the rise and consolidation of capitalism. Most theorists agree that civil society is important for democratization, both as a counterweight to state power and as a means to greater democratic legitimacy and effectiveness. However, the proper role of civil society in the process of democratic consolidation, as most Asian states and societies are, is still imprecise. In recent years, civil society has taken center stage in the current debates on globalization. Civil society is seen as being able to contribute to basic principles of democracy and good governance, transposed to a global level. It is widely asserted that contemporary civil society responds to the democratic deficits in the present blueprint of globalization. But does it? This module will critically examine the various contentions on civil society’s role in the processes of globalization—as an international actor that checks the power of hegemonic forces and bestows legitimacy to the governance of globalization.

1. Civil Society and Contemporary Political Theory
2. Civil Society in Asia
3. Globalization, Global Governance, and Civil Society

Module 3
Modes of Intervention: Civil Society Action on Globalization

This module will provide insights on civil society’s various actions on globalization based on concrete experiences and empirical studies. Civil society employ and adopt a range of strategies—from holding demonstrations to engaging institutions of power and mobilizing public opinion on globalization. Some groups within civil society, especially those engaged in service delivery, have had collaborative undertakings with multilateral institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund in development projects and poverty reduction strategies. On the other hand, social movements, particularly those critical of the three pillars of neoliberal globalization—privatization, deregulation, and liberalization—have not restricted themselves to the mere recognition of the ills of the present system and have progressed to the search for viable alternatives. The objectives of this module are to investigate the forms of action utilized by civil society in Asia in performing its purported role in the processes of globalization, and to reflect on the promises and pitfalls of such tactics in. This module also puts under critical lens the alternatives being put forward by civil society groups, which some have disparaged as utopian visions.

1. State-Civil Society Engagement
2. Global Civil Society Movements and International Policymaking
3. Alternative Globalization

Module 4
Representation and Accountability

This module will address two challenges to civil society: representation and accountability. These are of particular importance especially when they make claims and demands on the present form of globalization. Among the various topics that will be discussed include funding and North-South divide.

The lecturers for the course are noted scholars on critical political economy and Asian studies from the University of the Philippines Department of Political Science and Asian Center.

IV. Registration
Registration is open from 7 March to 15 April 2007. The course fee is P5,000.00. An early bird discount of P500.00 will be given to those who will register and pay on or before 31 March 2007. To register, please request for the registration form at Participants should pay the registration fees at least two weeks prior to the actual date of the course. The fees will cover meals (lunch and snacks), course readings and additional handouts, and and the use of equipment and facilities. The Asian Center Conference Hall will be the venue of the seminar. A maximum of thirty trainees (30) will be accommodated to ensure quality of exchanges during the course.

For more information, please contact Zuraida Mae D. Cabilo or Sharon M. Quinsaat at

No comments:

Post a Comment