Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Global civil society: Finding collective voice in diversity
by Magis, Kristen Marie, Ph.D., Portland State University, 2007, 327; 3274098
Abstract (Summary)

The research question that forms the basis of this dissertation is: "What characteristics do members of Global Civil Society define as critical to the successful functioning of coalition processes designed to generate specific policy positions?" The dissertation's objective is to develop a canon of knowledge about these critical characteristics.

The relative lack of research on the question of the internal organization and operations of GCS coalitions necessitated the use of inductive methodology. Three sources of data were utilized; interviews with knowledgeable persons in Global Civil Society, a conference of GCS experts, and papers commissioned for the conference. The data were examined via analytic induction to discern patterns and relationships. The analysis resulted in nine characteristics defined by experts in GCS as critical to the successful functioning of coalitions. Theories from several disciplines were then explored to discern those that offered explanatory potential regarding the characteristics. Those that were salient were enfolded with the findings to generate a holistic portrayal of the characteristics.

The characteristics were analyzed once again to eliminate duplication, examine emergent phenomena and synthesize constructs. From this analysis emerged the constituents and elements. A final relational analysis on the constituents and elements illustrated the many, complex relations between them and revealed the larger system of which they were a part—the Convergence System.

The study's primary contribution is the Convergence System, a theoretical model derived from the integration of study data and relevant theories. The contribution to praxis is the Convergence Framework, an empirically derived framework of characteristics critical to the efficacious operations of coalitions. The contribution to theory is an initial schema of an integrated theory system for the study of Global Civil Society. An emergent and unexpected contribution of the Convergence System is that it suggests a possible trajectory for the development of a global civil society.

The trajectory for research to further develop the Convergence System and to contribute to the emergent field of Global Civil Society includes three branches; (1) testing the Convergence System, (2) testing theories against the specific conditions within GCS coalitions, and (3) exploring specific questions inspired by the research findings.

Indexing (document details)
School: Portland State University
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 68/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science, Social structure, Organizational behavior, Organization theory
Keywords: Civil society, Collective voice, Diversity, Global civil society, Transnational social movements
Publication Number: 3274098
ISBN: 978-0-549-14384-0
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