94115 - Civil Society And Globalization

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Andrea Bassi

  • Credits 10

  • SSD SPS/07

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in International relations and diplomatic affairs (cod. 8048)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide the essential elements of the analysis of the role and functions that Civil Society’ organizations (Third Sector), with an international vocation, assume in the new globalized context. The course will provide the theoretical framework of Civil Society’ concept and Non-profit Organizations, and some insights on their functions: advocacy, promotion and protection of human rights, awareness of environmental sustainability and new economic development model. With a focus on the activities carried out by international Third Sector organizations’ networks, such as: Red Cross/Red Crescent, Fratres-Misericordie, Samaritans-Anpas, as well as the best known Amnesty International, WWF, Medecins sans Frontieres, NGOs, etc. At the end of the course the student is able to: - know the different theories and approaches of social sciences about the birth, presence, evolution, development prospects of the actors of Civil Society at an international level; - know the main international definitions (with particular attention to the European context) concerning the Civil Society actors; - analyze and interpret the data on the international Civil Society produced by international research bodies and institutions; - apply the case study technique to international Civil Society organizations, as well as to networks that operate internationally; - critically compare the different approaches to the study of Civil Society and discuss their implications on public policies.

Course contents

The course is taught in presence. The number of students allowed in class is determined on the basis of class capacity and by the health and safety provisions that deal with the pandemic emergency. In case more students want to attend classes in presence than permitted by the rules, a system of shifts will be organized so to allow students to participate. Regardless of the health-related conditions and the specific organization of the course, students will be able to follow the lessons of the entire course remotely on MS TEAMS.

The course is divided into three independent but interrelated modules.

The first module deals with the fundamental elements of the concept of civil society.

The conceptual and theoretical roof of “civil society” will be presented and analyzed; rooted in various traditions of Western philosophy (see Ferguson, Hegel, Tocqueville, Gramsci, Cohen and Arato. Moreover the four basic dimensions of Civil Society will be illustrated:

1 - the structure of civil society with regard to its basic components, their size and relationship and the resources they command;

2 - the legal, political and socio-cultural space that civil society occupies within the larger regulatory, legal and social environment;

3 - the values that civil society represents and advocates;

4 - the impact of civil society on societal well-being and the policy process.

The second module addresses issues related to the globalization process of civil society.

The so-called "Global Civil Society" born in the late 90s of the last century (Global Civil Society Yearbook - Oxford) will be analyzed.

In particular, the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be taken into consideration, with a focus on the history, evolution and activities of the International Red Cross.

The third module aims to analyze the main "measurement" systems relating to the consistency and "health status" of the Civil Society existing at an international level. In particular, the model of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) will be examined in order to analyze its internal dimensions and the main evaluation indicators in the various national contexts.


First Module

David Armstrong, Valeria Bello, Julie Gilson and Debora Spini (Edited by) (2011), Civil Society and International Governance, Routledge, New York.

Second Module

Volker Heins (2008), Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society. Struggles over Recognition, Palgrave McMillian, New York.

Third Module

V. Finn Heinrich and Lorenzo Fioramonti (2008), CIVICUS Global Survey of the State of Civil Society. Volume 2: Comparative Perspectives, Kumarian Press, Bloomfield, CT.

Teaching methods

During the lessons electronic and audio visual instruments will be used.

The active participation of the students in group and workshop activities will be fostered.

Assessment methods

The exam includes a written part and an oral part.

Written test
Students are invited to attend classes and to carry out two "partial written tests" during the course at the end of the first and second modules. Each test contains three open-ended questions (time 55 minutes, evaluation out of thirty, sufficiency 18). Those who have obtained a mark equal to or greater than 18 in both partial tests can directly enroll in the oral test.
Those who do not do the partial tests, or those who are absent or do not pass the partial tests, will have to take a written test with 5 open-ended questions (time 100 minutes) on the same program in a round of the June-July session or in the September session.

Oral examination
The oral exam on the third module is mandatory for everyone and can be taken in a round from the June-July session or in the September session.

Refusal of the vote
The evaluation obtained in a single "intermediate test" cannot be rejected. The student has the right to refuse the final grade (including the written and the oral) proposed by the teacher. In this case, the student will have to take the exam over the entire program.

Graduation of the final grade:

18-23: sufficient preparation and analysis skills but related to a limited number of topics covered in the course, use of an overall correct language;

24-27: technically adequate preparation but with some limitations with respect to the topics covered, good analytical skills, even if not particularly articulated, expressed in correct language;

28-30: excellent knowledge of a large number of topics covered in the course, good analytical and critical skills, mastery of specific terminology;

30L: excellent and very thorough and exhaustive knowledge of the topics addressed in the course, ability of critical analysis and connection, mastery of specific terminology.


Teaching tools

Video Projector, PC, Flip chart.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Bassi