[Lecture] Catherine E. Herrold -(Re)Mobilizing the Masses: Civil Society and Social Change in the 21st Century (SolidCare Lab)
🗓 March 29 🕒 12:00 CET 🔹 IFDT
This lecture explores how contemporary youth mobilize for change outside of traditional NGOs and what the implications of these new mobilizing structures are for theory, policy, and practice. Long hailed as part and parcel of a vibrant civil society and well positioned to promote social justice, economic development, and democracy, NGOs have more recently been accused of being at best co-opted by, and at worst willing pawns of, international donors and national governing regimes. As a result, youth are increasingly rejecting NGOs as vehicles of citizen-led change and experimenting with more locally rooted approaches. Drawing upon twelve months of ethnographic research in Palestine, I argue that three organizational forms deserve our attention. These include voluntary grassroots organizations (VGOs), social enterprises, and community philanthropy groups. By bringing to light youth’s innovative, locally embedded organizing strategies, I suggest that it is time to revisit our theories about the landscapes and roles of civil society. I also reflect on the promises and pitfalls of international donors’ efforts to support these grassroots initiatives.
Catherine E. Herrold, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs. From January to August 2023, she is a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Belgrade’s Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory and the University’s Faculty of Political Science. She previously served as a Visiting Scholar at Birzeit University (Palestine) and The American University in Cairo (Egypt). Her research centers on civil society, international development, and democracy promotion. Herrold’s first book, Delta Democracy: Pathways to Incremental Civic Revolution in Egypt and Beyond, uncovers the strategies that Egyptian NGOs used to advance the aims of the country’s 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Herrold regularly speaks on topics of foreign aid, international development, and democracy promotion to members of the international development and foreign policy communities. From 2020-2021, Herrold served as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
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