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  • Author: Amy Erica Smith, Emma Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last decade, scholars have begun to elaborate the diverse ways religion manifests in democracies. We draw on theories related to modernization, secularism, and religious competition, as well as survey data from the Comparative National Elections Project, to explain individual-level and country-level variation in religious politicking—religious leaders’ and organizations’ engagement in electoral campaigns. At the country level, though human development depresses the rate at which citizens receive political messages from religious organizations and clergy, both secularism and religious pluralism boost it. At the individual level, “civilizational” differences across religious groups are muted and inconsistent. However, across the globe, citizens with higher levels of education are consistently more likely to receive political messages—an effect that is stronger where religious politicking is more common. A case study of Mozambique further confirms the insights obtained when we unpack modernization and secularization theories.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Developing World, Democracy, Citizenship, Human Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: David Devlin-Foltz, Susanna Dilliplane, Rhonda Schlangen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In 2016, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation launched a new grant-making strategy to support advocacy for access to family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) services in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal: support vibrant African organizations able to positively influence their government’s FPRH policies and funding decisions. The strategy seeks to shift power towards the local civil society organizations (CSOs) doing the advocacy work and to strengthen their capacity to advocate. During the first five years of the strategy’s implementation, the Foundation is working with the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program to assess and learn from the experience of its grantees and the CSOs they support. This midterm report summarizes key findings and recommendations based on evaluation activities conducted in 2017 and 2018.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Local, Advocacy, Family Planning, Reproductive Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, Pawel Marczewski, Vijayan Mj, Ghia Nodia, Natalia Shapoavlova, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Marisa Von Bülow, Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. Some organizations focused on the needs of underrepresented groups, such as women’s empowerment, inclusion of minorities, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights; others addressed broader societal issues such as economic justice, social welfare, and antipoverty concerns. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and postcommunist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world. It does so under the rubric of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network project, an initiative that aims to explore new types of civic activism and examine the extent to which these activists and associations are redrawing the contours of global civil society. The emerging role and prominence of conservative activism is one such change to civil society that merits comparative examination. Taken as a whole, the report asks what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society. Its aim is not primarily to pass judgment on whether conservative civil society is a good or bad thing—although the contributing authors obviously have criticisms to make. Rather, it seeks mainly to understand more fully what this trend entails. Much has been written and said about anticapitalist, human rights, and global justice civil society campaigns and protests. Similar analytical depth is required in the study of conservative civil society. The report redresses the lack of analytical attention paid to the current rise of conservative civil society by offering examples of such movements and the issues that drive them. The authors examine the common traits that conservative groups share and the issues that divide them. They look at the kind of members that these groups attract and the tactics and tools they employ. And they ask how effective the emerging conservative civil society has been in reshaping the political agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Activism, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Europe, South Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, Caucasus, Middle East, India, Poland, Brazil, South America, Georgia, North America, Thailand, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. has learned many lessons in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—most of them the hard way. It has had to adapt the strategies, tactics, and force structures designed to fight regular wars to conflicts dominated by non-state actors. It has had to deal with threats shaped by ideological extremism far more radical than the communist movements it struggled against in countries like Vietnam. It has found that the kind of “Revolution in Military Affairs,” or RMA, that helped the U.S. deter and encourage the collapses of the former Soviet Union does not win such conflicts against non-state actors, and that it faces a different mix of threats in each such war—such as in cases like Libya, Yemen, Somalia and a number of states in West Africa. The U.S. does have other strategic priorities: competition with China and Russia, and direct military threats from states like Iran and North Korea. At the same time, the U.S. is still seeking to find some form of stable civil solution to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—as well as the conflicts Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and West Africa. Reporting by the UN, IMF, and World Bank also shows that the mix of demographic, political governance, and economic forces that created the extremist threats the U.S. and its strategic partners are now fighting have increased in much of the entire developing world since the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and the political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a working paper that suggests the U.S. needs to build on the military lessons it has learned from its "long wars" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in order to carry out a new and different kind of “Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs,” or RCMA. This revolution involves very different kinds of warfighting and military efforts from the RMA. The U.S. must take full advantage of what it is learning about the need for different kinds of train and assist missions, the use of airpower, strategic communications, and ideological warfare. At the same time, the U.S. must integrate these military efforts with new civilian efforts that address the rise of extremist ideologies and internal civil conflicts. It must accept the reality that it is fighting "failed state" wars, where population pressures and unemployment, ethnic and sectarian differences, critical problems in politics and governance, and failures to meet basic economic needs are a key element of the conflict. In these elements of conflict, progress must be made in wartime to achieve any kind of victory, and that progress must continue if any stable form of resolution is to be successful.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Military Strategy, Governance, Military Affairs, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Somalia, Sundan
  • Author: Yara Shahin
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Civil society plays a vital role in society. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) connect citizens and governments, hold governments accountable, and advocate for citizens’ interests. After being widely celebrated in the 1990s, civil society across the world is now facing shrinking support and growing restrictions. Drivers behind these restrictions in Tunisia include professed concerns about terrorism, a dominant security agenda, and the shift within civil society from service delivery to advocacy, which can seem threatening to governments. Government restrictions most often target the social justice sector and obstruct the work of NGOs through legal restrictions, financial measures, and direct threats to civic actors. Recently, many governments have intensified accusations that civil society and its activists are anti-development, work against economic security, or are terrorist sympathizers or supporters. This paper explores the status of civic space in Tunisia and its development from the most repressive civic space in the Middle East and North Africa during Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime to an open civic space following the 2011 Arab Spring. It also highlights the various ways in which civil society has responded to the closing of civic space, especially as it pertains to pushing back against problematic laws through the formation of domestic coalitions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Space, NGOs, Social Order
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Tunisia
  • Author: Thomas Fetzer, Stephan Kyburz
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better at managing conflicts over distribution? We exploit exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments and use new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria to answer these questions. There is a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the resource. Conflict over distribution is highly organized, involving political militias, and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Democratically elected local governments significantly weaken the causal link between rents and political violence. Elections produce more cohesive institutions, and vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Conflict, Violence, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Marcos Do Amaral
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Mozambique is described as the third most exposed African country to the risks of disaster, particularly floods, cyclones and drought. It is one of the world’s worst affected countries in terms of climate change, resulting in high levels of poverty and vulnerability, and major impacts on natural resources and physical infrastructures. Oxfam is building the capacity of Mozambique’s civil society so it can effectively participate in disaster management, directly support affected and vulnerable people, and, in terms of the humanitarian situation, have a critical vision and voice.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Poverty, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Southern Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: On the fifth anniversary of the mass Tahrir Square protests that ousted former President Mubarak, Egyptians are suffering severe repression and political instability. As this crisis deepens, Washington continues to send troubling mixed messages about its commitment to trying to resolve it. The U.S. government should, at long last, use its considerable influence to support civil society and advance human rights in Egypt. Such an approach would both help Egyptians and serve U.S interests. This blueprint draws on dozens of interviews with Egyptian human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, academics, families of detainees, lawyers, government officials, and others, conducted during a research trip in January 2016. It examines conditions in Egypt, the strengths and shortcomings of the U.S. response, and potential opportunities for the U.S. government to support civil society and strengthen respect for human rights. This year will be a defining one as violent extremism, regional conflicts, and political and economic mismanagement threaten Egypt—and as President Obama shapes his legacy in the Middle East. In 2009, he delivered a message of hope in Cairo: “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.” Much has changed in the intervening years. In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015, President Obama opted for analysis rather than exhortation, noting that: “repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed. The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.” He continued: “I believe a government that suppresses peaceful dissent is not showing strength; it is showing weakness and it is showing fear. History shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble, but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual is gone.” Yet the U.S. government’s handling of the enduring crisis in Egypt has too often failed to draw obvious conclusions from the Administration’s analysis of the detrimental impact of human rights violations on stability and progress. As a result, many Egyptians view the Obama Administration as supportive of the repressive leadership in Cairo. This support for the dictatorship will render Egypt less stable, undermine U.S. efforts to prevent violent extremism, and further damage Washington’s credibility in the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo