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Interrogating the dynamics of cosmopolitan democracy in theory and practice: the case of Cambodia

Norman, David John (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis engages in a sympathetic critique of the critical (dialogical) dimension of cosmopolitan democracy and its idealisation of a specific form of global civil society (GCS) to contest the exclusionary practices of contemporary global governance. Drawing upon the work of Jürgen Habermas, the critical approach assumes civil society as a communicative (local) vehicle that draws from the lifeworld, to steer the systemic neoliberal modes of global governance. The thesis in contrast, describes a scenario resulting in the reversal of this logic; global neoliberal modes of rationality can actually colonise the communicative spaces of (local) civil society. To highlight this claim, a specific neoliberal global democratic project is examined to reveal two new roles for global civil society; professional service providers, and democratic watchdogs. These roles re-inscribe a new identity for civil society akin to the neoliberal form of systemic rationality. An empirical case study of these roles within Cambodian civil society is then undertaken to demonstrate how endogenous communicative spaces can be marginalised through exogenous neoliberal interventions. The thesis suggests that the critical cosmopolitan democratic project must reject its de-contextualised communicative assumptions of global civil society in order to retain its inclusionary ideal.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Steans, Jill
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Government and Society, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Subjects:DS Asia
JQ Political institutions Asia
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1776
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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