Civil Society: Transnational and Local
Fridays, 1:25-3:20 Social Science 1383
Instructor: James Ron
Email: Jamesr(at)umn.edu (or lnoble(at)umn.edu for appointments)
Office Hours: Fridays, 3:30-5:00, or by appointment through Laura Noble at lnoble(at)umn.edu.
This course is aimed at graduate students in political science, public affairs, and related disciplines. It reviews some of the dominant approaches to the study of transnational and local civil society, and discusses some of the most important themes in the subfield, including issues of norm resonance, policy impact, social mobilization, resource mobilization, North-South tensions, and more.
Course Requirements: Recurring Exercises:
By 10 am on the day of class, during weeks #3-#14, post a 750-word briefing note addressing the following questions:
1. What is the main argument of each article/book chapter/book? For books, note the main argument for the book overall, as well as individual book chapters.
2. Who are these arguments directed at, implicitly or explicitly, in the scholarly realm? Which specific scholars, theories, and/or evidence is the author arguing with, and why? What, in other words, is the disciplinary point the author is trying to make?
3. Who are these arguments directed at, implicitly or explicitly, in the policy realm? Consider the policies of states, bilateral or multilateral donors, international NGOs, IGOs, and other civil society actors. What, in other words, is the policy point the author is trying to make?
4. Finally, consider each work's research design and research methods. If the article reviews existing literature, how systematic is that review? What appear to be the criteria for inclusion or exclusion? If the work analyzes empirical data, discuss the kind evidence that the author gathered, and their method of data collection. How was the data analyzed? What are this method's strengths and weaknesses? Think of key methodological issues such as external validity ("to whom do the results of this study pertain"), internal validity ("how accurate of empirical reality is this study, and how do we know?"), and replicability ("Can other scholars follow similar methods and use similar evidence, and achieve similar results?")