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Volume Four Winter 2005-Spring 2006 Numbers 1-2.
THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN PEACE BUILDING IN FRAGILE DEMOCRACIES: THE CASE OF MALAWI
Indigenous Learning, Spirituality and Research Center
Central Queensland University
Rockhampton QLD 4702, Australia
Published online: February 10, 2017
The rapid mushrooming of civil society organizations (CSOs) globally and their engagement in the social, economic, and political endeavors both at national and international levels has attracted unprecedented support which, to some international relations theorists, threatens the sovereignty of nation-states. In developing countries, the relationship between states and civil society organizations is generally full of tension due to the popular belief that the state is not, or is no longer the principal organizer of politics, governance, and development. The dynamics of the relationships between states and civil society organizations challenge contemporary theory of global governance. The insidious nature of some civil society organizations calls for a thorough understanding of their core values and the realignment of state-civil society politics in the current global political dynamism. This article aims to examine the discourse of power relationships between unstable states; states that have embraced multi-party democracy yet struggle to live by its ideals, and the new wave of civil society organizations. Using Malawi as a case study, the article critically examines the role civil society has played in stabilizing, nurturing and/or promoting democracy and in exacerbating tensions that have the potential to trigger violence.