Palestinian Civil Society examines the development of civil society in the Arab Middle East and the impact of western donors, with particular reference to the Palestinian case. Looking at the evolution of Palestinian civil society organizations from sociological, historical, legal, and institutional perspectives, the book sheds light on the involvement of donors in Palestine, and the effect that aid has had on Palestinian civil society at a social, political and ideological level.
Drawing on Arabic texts, political theory and a detailed survey of donors and local organizations, this book challenges culturalist views that there cannot be a ‘vibrant civil society’ in the Arab world and examines the issues of depoliticization of civil society, the rise of the Islamist sector, and the gradual defeat of the left in the Occupied Territories. The author looks at how the interaction between donors and NGOs is not only centred on a western model of civil society, but also evolves around institutional mechanisms and disciplinary discourses, affecting the ability of local NGOs to adapt to the institutional requirements set by international donors.
Accessible to non-specialists, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, Middle Eastern studies and development studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: One Civil Society, Two Palestines Part 1: Clearing the Ground 2. Debating Civil Society: Internationally and in the Arab Middle East 3. Setting the Historical Framework on Palestinian NGOs and International Donors Part 2: Civil Society at Work 4. International Donors and the Professionalization of Civil Society Promotion 5. Managing the Discourse of Civil Society 6. The Exclusionary Dimensions of Civil Society 7. Conclusions: Looking ‘Beyond the Pale’
Benoît Challand is a research fellow at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) and has taught at the universities of Bologna, Bethlehem, Pavia and Fribourg.