Civil society and expectations of democratisation from below: The case of Myanmar
Western donors often try to avoid providing aid to governments that fail to meet their requirements of ‘good governance’. In line with neoliberal thought, they prefer direct funding to civil society, thereby hoping to achieve ‘democratisation from below’. Civil society organisations are expected to model democratic behaviour, and are relied on for transparency and inclusiveness. This paper will discuss such practice as it has taken place in Myanmar in recent years. It will address definitions of civil society in Myanmar, issues of representation, and the question if and how civil society organisations in Myanmar can promote democratic practice.
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