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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sabine Lang
SIS 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

Global Civil Society and the Public Sphere

Globalization fuels concerns about the primacy of economic agendas at the expense of civic engagement and public voice. This course will explore the spaces, meanings, and functions of civil societies and public spheres in a globalized world. First, we will investigate how these concepts are being defined in different political theories and ask specifically how the connection between civic engagement and political advocacy is being established. In the second half of the course we will look at actors and organizations that might serve as catalysts for civic participation: What is the actual and potential role of non governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations and transnational networks in creating civic institutions and mobilizing citizens? Do new electronic media such as the internet enhance public spheres? And do, or should, state institutions take on responsibility for activating citizens?

Student learning goals

Students are introduced to major theoretical works on civil society and the public sphere. They will learn to apply these theories to specific contexts and actors in today's global quest for citizen engagement.

General method of instruction

This course is reading and writing intensive. It relies on active participation and discussion in the classroom.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grading components: Seminar presentation, writing assignments, interview.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/30/2008