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Title:The Role of Civil Society and Democratization in Nepal
Editor:Ananda P. Srestha
Publisher:Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies
Size:139 x 220 mm
'Civil Society' as a concept has of late occupied a central position in development discourse. The definition of civil society however, due to its diverse size, level, functional variation, scope and orientation is hard to generalize. But pure common sense suggests that civil society consists of non-state, non governmental, voluntary people's forums, organizations and movements organized from below. The organizers are citizens with a wide range of vision, objectives, strategies, activities and linkages. Civil society is a space for popular forces, the majority of people, for the recomposition of their capacity to manage, organize and develop their identity and bring real progress in the life of a majority of the population.
Civil society has also been conceived as an alternative path of developmental design to respond to the demand of society's diverse groups to form a base for practical vindication of shared interests, values, commitment and practices. It is a way of bringing them together for a common mission and to a critical consciousness for social action.
The role of civil society has played the role of a watchdog of democratic transition in Eastern Europe, as an element of renewal of civic virtue in America as a politics of reconstruction in Africa as an instrument of people's power in the Philippines, as democratic development in Asia and as a network of serving public good in many developing countries. These roles suggest that no democracy can survive for long if it is totally alienated from civil society. In general terms, civil society can be expected to contribute to democratic governance in many ways.
It is precisely for these reasons that Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) with the cooperation of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) decided to hold a series of seminars in different parts of the country on the theme "Role of Civil Society in Democratization". The seminars as such covered five crucial perspectives of the term civil society namely the "Trade Union Perspective" (Janakpur) "Gender Perspective" (Dharan) "NGO Perspective" (Pokhara) "Human Rights Perspective" (Tansen, Palpa) and the "Media Perspective" (Kathmandu) and as expected generated tremendous feedback which would have been otherwise impossible had they only been concentrated in Kathmandu where it virtually "rains" seminars.