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Title: Building 'civil society' in Palestine 1993-1998 : four case studies of Palestinian non-governmental organizations.
Author: Shawa, Salma Aown.
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis looks in depth at the efforts of Palestinian NGOs to build 'civil society' during the period after the transfer of power from Israeli occupation to Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1993 till 1998. The process of building civil society is shown in the thesis to be understood differently by NGOs, the PNA and international donors in the functions that it involves and the position that NGOs ought to occupy within the Palestinian community. Drawing on the civil society literature, a working definition of the process of building civil society is developed for the purposes of the study which emphasises three dimensions: (i) NGO efforts to gain public influence either by influencing public debate, rights and duties or public policies; (ii) NGO attempts to strengthen community solidarity and (iii) NGO work to promote democratic organisational practices within their own organisations. A set of four NGO case studies was collected and the data analysed with reference to social theory literature, drawing in particular on Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field and capital. It was found that a set of internal and external obstacles limited NGO efforts to build civil society. These included lack of support from the PNA, the continuation of Israeli occupation in different forms and lack of interest in the community. These obstacles reduced the ability of NGOs to realise this role effectively. Of the three dimensions of the process of building civil society it was only the second one - that of strengthening community solidarity - that NGOs focused on as a way of combating the difficult economic circumstances that Palestinian Territories were experiencing. The thesis concludes that Palestinian NGOs had the potential to build civil society but they needed more appropriate external and internal circumstances to be entrusted with carrying out this role.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NGOs; Israeli Political science Public administration