Enjoying the read thus far and would recommend it, not just in regard to startups but also as an alternate perspective on approach to business and othEnjoying the read thus far and would recommend it, not just in regard to startups but also as an alternate perspective on approach to business and other endeavors....more
Love the book. Good, solid story, interesting and worth considering; the writing kept a good pace, consistent tone, the plot devices, even where expecLove the book. Good, solid story, interesting and worth considering; the writing kept a good pace, consistent tone, the plot devices, even where expected felt natural and added to the story. ...more
I was disappointed by this book. Perhaps I ventured into it with too many preconceptions. I was not looking to have the concept of a civil society intI was disappointed by this book. Perhaps I ventured into it with too many preconceptions. I was not looking to have the concept of a civil society introduced, but rather explored and its impact on international relations examined. I did not find that here.
There as a lot of flowery talk about how civil society is civil, and lot of conflicted discussion about including capitalism even though capitalism is "bad." I found the long discussion unnecessary, but perhaps the concept has strongly Marxist adherents who needed more convincing?
Equally conflicted discussion about the Euro/Western-centric nature of this civil society not being an example of cultural colonialism (even though the NGO's he referenced are based in the West and Western Academic institutions help standardize norms and cultural tendencies of those who attend?) Suffice to say that I had a real problem with this argument.
The text also made a very poor case for the impact of this Global Civil Society on IR. It spoke often of this activity being tied to peace and non-violence, but there was no case made that it cause/promoted peace/non-violence. In fact, wars were cited as having diminished some civil societies of the past. Knocks the legs out from under the rest of the argument.
There was also a whole section that discussed the democratizing effect of Civil Society, but in different words, which I did not find to add anything to our knowledge that was not already covered by Barrington Moore (who,in my opinion, writes terribly.)
Last but not least - if one is to use graphs, they should represent information, rather than be illustrations. I am not arguing for positivism, but there are illustrations in this book that look like graphs, but are really just armwavy pictures: http://books.google.com/books?id=9oWS...
Additionally, I think this concept has real analytically potential - there is actual data to be found if one looks. I would not advocate trying to dump in data where it does not belong, but in this case, it would be only too easy.
Overall, I was disappointed in this book. I arrived at it expecting to find an argument for an alternate level of analysis, succinct (useful) definitions for how to delineate Global Civil Society and perhaps some takes on where it is found. Perhaps an argument for its capacity to impact Global politics, and if I was lucky, some discussion of what the decentralized (truly market-like) nature of GSC implies for it's impact.
I fund very little of it in this book. It can be a good way to get someone thinking about Global Civil Society, but as an analysis of the idea, i felt like it kept of missing the point - coming close to glimpsing the concepts rich potential, but then turning back. I am however giving it the second start because it does touch on some valuable concepts.
I have also decided to never again pick up a book with a question mark in the title. If the author is not sufficiently certain of the books argument to put at least a period, if not an exclamation mark, it may be best to let the idea get sorted out first....more