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Transnational political action and 'global civil society' in practice: the case of Oxfam

Berry, Craig and Gabay, Clive (2009). Transnational political action and 'global civil society' in practice: the case of Oxfam. Global Networks, 9(3) pp. 339–358.

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The term 'global civil society' has taken on increasing significance within scholarly debate over the past decade. This paper seeks to understand transnational political agency via the study of a particular transnational actor, Oxfam. It argues that the various schools of thought surrounding the global civil society concept, in particular the prevailing liberal-cosmopolitan approach, are unable to conceptualise transnational political action in practice – due largely, in the case of liberal-cosmopolitanism, to a shared normative agenda. It also assesses the contribution of the literature on development and civil society to the analysis of groups such as Oxfam. In investigating Oxfam's own perceptions of its context and the meanings of its agency, we discover an anti-political perspective, derived from an encounter between Oxfam's long-standing commitment to liberal internationalism, and globalization discourse. The local or parochial nature of global civil society actors' identities has not been sufficiently identified by existing scholarship.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2009 The Authors
ISSN: 1471-0374
Keywords: globalization; global civil society; Oxfam; transnational agency; cosmopolitanism
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 15726
Depositing User: Clive Gabay
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 15:25
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 15:20
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