Civil Society in Sri Lanka : New Circles of Power

Nira Wickramasinghe, Sage, 2001, 179 p, ISBN : 8178290049, $40.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Civil Society in Sri Lanka : New Circles of Power/Nira Wickramasinghe

Contents: Introduction. 1. The many faces of security in Sri Lanka. 2. Good governance and the new aid regime. 3. Partnership in development and NGOs: a critique of donor conceptions. 4. Sovereignty and humanitarian relief organizations. Conclusion. Index.

"Most developing countries have, in varying degrees, integrated their national economies into a global world economy. The consequent free flow of capital, technology, and information across national boundaries has made it imperative to devise new forms of organizations which transcend national boundaries.

Against this background, this important book explores the various ways in which new international and transnational forces—especially multilateral financial agencies, humanitarian relief organizations, and northern NGOs—are shaping the developmental state in Sri Lanka. The new circles of power that are being drawn by them are playing a substantial role not only in reorganizing the political economy of the country, but also in integrating it into a new cultural and ideological order through the creation of transnational networks.

The first chapter analyzes the local NGO network and human rights organizations. Together they are challenging and contesting the state conception of security in contemporary Sri Lanka and constitute a new circle of power. The second chapter questions the recent emergence of ‘good governance’ as a dominant consideration in aid policy and development assistance. The next chapter addresses the concept of partnership in development that has, to a large extent, replaced aid in the development discourse in Sri Lanka. The fourth chapter analyzes the relationship between humanitarianism and state sovereignty in Sri Lanka using as examples the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and medicines sans Frontieres (MSF).

Presenting a view from the ‘South’ on global civil society, this insightful book presents a critical yet sympathetic examination of the new forces that are shaping societies in developing countries. It will be of considerable interest to those in the fields of political science, international relations, public administration, and development studies. It will be of equal interest to international aid agencies, NGOs, human rights activists, and multi-lateral funding bodies."

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