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Edited by Kate Hutchings and Snejina Michailova
Chapter 6: Global platforms, local politics: Arab women in transnational organizations
Over the past decade a growing number of scholars have studied women's work in transnational non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society (Antrobus, 2005; Hesford and Kozol, 2005); however, few have explored this activity within Arab societies. This chapter will examine Arab women's engagement in both local and transnational NGOs in the Arab world, their negotiation of global and local discourses on gender justice and their navigation of the complex politics of advocacy. Particular emphasis will be placed on Arab women's involvement with local and transnational NGOs as agents of change rather than recipients of services. Throughout this chapter the term NGOs is used in the broadest sense to refer to all civil society organizations (CSOs) that are external to the state's purview. In the early 1990s, the waning of Cold War politics prompted a paradigm shift generating new discourses on globalization and democratization. A parallel shift in the level of analysis was taking place across all disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. Increased globalization of political, economic, cultural, and technological flows has given transnational non-governmental organizations larger roles on both the local and global level (Appadurai, 1996; Falk, 1992; Held et al., 1999; Sassen, 1996). Globalization brings 'new opportunities', the most important of which is the 'possibility of a non-authoritarian universalism' premised on global concepts such as human rights, democracy and participation. As such, academics have become increasingly interested in studying the contributions of transnational NGOs to global society and socio-economic development (Boli and Thomas, 1997; Robertson, 1992).
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